By JUDY SHERIDAN
Parker County residents who pass the historic courthouse have begun to see stars — in a good way.
Thursday morning, four of them, trimmmed in lights, were lifted to the structure’s very top.
Reminiscent of those that heralded Christmases 20 years ago, the 6-foot high and 6-foot wide white stars will be visible in all directions.
They are the first of the decorations to be unveiled by the Parker County Christmas Committee, which has raised $21,000 in donations and pledges so far, according to committee chairperson Donna Tillman.
“We expected great interest in this, and everyone’s been very positive about the lights going up and bringing the courthouse back to her former glory,” Tillman said. “We’ve paid for the tree and most of the stars at this point.”
The centerpiece of the festive decor will be a 30-foot tall, 16-foot wide artificial tree, to be erected in the center of the east lawn a week before a tree-lighting ceremony set for Saturday, Nov. 30. The stars will also be lit at that time.
The ceremony, which follows a 6 p.m. private reception for donors, has been set for 7 p.m.
The large Christmas tree will bear white lights and a crowning star that matches those illuminating the courthouse.
In addition, the familiar nativity scene is being spruced up with a coat of paint and new lighting, Tillman said. It will be displayed on the west lawn, along with a group of five or six live trees strung with lights.
The committee also plans to put flickering battery-timed candles in every window, she said, while courthouse employees spread Christmas cheer through the rest of the interior.
“We want it to be a shining beacon for the whole county,” Tillman said.
The decorations will make the courthouse a focal point, Tillman said, as it was in days gone by.
Coincidentally, the tree-lighting ceremony lines up with a 5-10 p.m. event that Weatherford’s downtown merchants are planning, she said, one that will include carolers, carriage rides and other Christmas activities.
The following week is Christmas-on-the-Square, she said, and after that, the annual Tour of Homes, which will spotlight the decorated courthouse.
Tillman said the Christmas Committee hopes to add to the decorations next year. On the wish list are lights that would drape from the new stars to the ground on all four corners, another nod to yesteryear.
Light a candle
Residents who want to honor or remember a loved one can sponsor a candle for one of the courthouse windows for $20. Each candle sponsor, along with the name of the person the candle is dedicated to, will be listed in the program for the lighting ceremony.
In addition, all names will be placed in the Commissioner Court minutes for permanent record, and the candles will be used for years to come.
Those who would like to sponsor a candle can contact Judge Mark Riley at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling his office at 817-598-6148.
Buy a print
Prints of the courthouse, commissioned by First National Bank, can also be purchased by contacting Lori Bennett at Hartness Print Square in Weatherford at 817-594-6020. The proceeds go to the Christmas Lighting Committee.
For more information or to make a donation, call Tillman at Holland Lake Nursing Center in Weatherford at 817-598-0160.