2019 Christmas on the Courthouse Square Beyond Expectations

Gretchen Ritchey

The 2019 Courthouse Christmas on the Square official Tree Lighting event was a huge success — larger than expectations, according to Glorie Thornton, Chief Deputy Hot Spring County Treasurer and Christmas on the Square committee member.
Thornton spoke to the Malvern Rotary Club on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 where she expressed her gratitude to everyone who attended to make the evening such a success.
As a result of donations and fundraisers the committee exceeded its goal, which is going toward more decorations for Christmas 2020.
Decorations included a 26 foot pre-lit Christmas Tree. The lights have a 6-year warranty. “This is a great investment we can add too,” said Thornton.
Santa greeted youngsters under the pavilion. Which was sponsored by Salt Life Church.
Herman Nutt provided horse drawn wagon rides around courthouse.
Civics clubs passed out cookies, coffee, and hot chocolate to event goers. Thornton said the hot chocolate was a big hit.
All local school participated in the wooden tree decorations. She said the FFA programs cut trees out and other school clubs were responsible for painting
Once decorations outside were up Thornton asked elected officials in the Courthouse to decorate their office doors and allow the courthouse to be open during the lighting event which immediately followed the parade. “They went beyond what I ever expected,” Thornton said. “As a result, people were stopping by to look and take photos.” On the evening of the official tree lighting, Thursday, December 12, Thornton said the halls of the Courthouse were filled with people with smiles as they viewed decorations inside the courthouse.
“Because of this effort we feel there is a new feeling of community excitement,” she said. Thornton went on to say that this has impacted so many in the county. Thornton said that many people have remarked that they felt there was more community involvement and how much they appreciate the decorations.
“People are proud of our small town again, and they are excited to see this project continue,” said Thornton.
Thornton stated that the committee knows they will continue to face many challenges, the greatest being funding and volunteers.
Two fundraisers have already been scheduled, Friday, April 3 and Friday, October 2. Both fundraisers will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will be catered by Dorey’s Catfish. Eating will be available on the courthouse lawn. Thornton also said the committee will accept donations at anytime for the 2020 event.
The committee plans to increase the lights around the courthouse to incorporate more areas, such as more windows. Thornton said that each light bulb with the wire that attaches it costs $1.37. The bulbs are industrial strength and have warranties. Unlike house Christmas lights, if one light in the strand of lights on the Courthouse goes out, it will be the only one out — will not cause the entire strand to go dark.
Thornton said they would like to increase the height of the Christmas Tree by 4 feet in 2020 and possibly more in years to come. The cost averages $1,000 per foot. The 2019 tree is 26 feet tall.
Another item the committee would like to have are lighted displays on the lawn. Thornton said the goal is to have the lawn decorated so when you drive around the square you will see decorations.
With the 2019 Christmas on the Courthouse Square behind them, Thornton said the committee is looking forward to the 2020 Christmas on the Courthouse Square. “We are hoping the courthouse will be brighter and more joyful enjoyed by everyone — I hope to see everyone out for the Christmas of 2020,” said Thornton.
The Malvern Rotary Club meets every Wednesday at noon at Western Sizzlin.