If the weather cooperates, Friday night’s Santa visit to Orrick should be ushered in with additional festivity this year.
Between 5 and 5:30 p.m., Mayor Cindy Lampton will throw the honorary switch to light a Mayor’s Christmas Tree on the east side of city hall. Then at 6 p.m., Santa will begin greeting kids at the Lions Club.
The 12-foot Mayor’s Tree is the first anyone at Monday’s Orrick City Council meeting could remember. Neither longtime city clerk (and now council member) Jeannette Hensley nor former mayor (and current board member) Shirley Taylor recall a previously one.
This year’s 12-footer was purchased for $227.97 at Osage Tree Farm near Sibley.
The cost of the tree and fact that it was purchased without board discussion or approval drew some comment at the meeting.
“Two hundred twenty-seven dollars is a lot of money and maybe we could’ve used that for something else,” Hensley said. “I’m just very budget-conscious and we just need to put away as much money as we can.”
Police Chief Ray Dinwiddie said the idea in purchasing the tree was to build community spirit.
“The schools are the only ones doing anything for the community to get people together and I thought we should do something,” he said.
Board member Shirley Taylor didn’t criticize the purchase, but said the money might’ve been used to help Sarah Fulte, organizer of Santa’s annual Orrick appearance.
“Nobody loves Christmas more than me, but I know Sarah needs help with what her family does,” Taylor said. “I think maybe we should think about helping her a little with that next year.”
The Mayor’s Tree won’t be all that’s brightly lit along Front Street. The Christmas decorations on poles along the street run almost the full length of the street, thanks to Fulte, Dinwiddie said.
The woman spent $900 of personal and donated money to buy five new lighted decorations along Orrick’s main business street.
“The ones she bought, that was enough to stretch it out all the way to both ends (of Front Street),” Police Chief Ray Dinwiddie said Monday. “That’s good to see.”
The city pays to have the lights stored during the off-season, rehung before Christmas and maintained.
– David Knopf, Richmond News