Graves County will have its own free, drive-through Christmas light display this holiday season.
Judge-Executive Jesse Perry came up with the idea for the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights, which he discussed with government, business and economic development, and tourism officials through the Graves Strategic Development working group earlier this year. His office is seeking business sponsors for the display.
The display will begin Nov. 30, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and will be offered Fridays to Sundays only through Jan. 5, said E.J. Clark, an administrative assistant in Perry's office. The lights will be on from 6 to 9:30 on nights the display is open. Although the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights is free, canned goods will be accepted for area food pantries.
Any monetary donations received will assist with Mayfield/Graves County Parks maintenance and programs, Clark said. He added that officials don't yet know what the cost of the display will be because they don't know how many displays businesses will sponsor.
Perry said he and his family travel to surrounding communities to see Christmas lights each year and enjoy making memories together while doing so.
"It's during the holidays, and we're able to spend time together," Perry said. "I feel like our community needs that here."
Additionally, he said, it allows the county to use its fairground facilities and show the public more of the space. It will also give the community a chance to give back and help others during the Christmas season.
The county is working with Mayfield Electric and Water Service to power the light display. Perry said he has also reached out to surrounding communities about how they went about creating their displays.
"The Calloway County parks have been a big help to us," Perry said. "They've given us some really good advice about do's and don'ts."
Perry is hoping some Graves County businesses that sponsor displays in other counties will help to sponsor lights for the Graves County display, and others that have never participated may be interested in doing so closer to home.
Businesses may browse available lighted scenes for purchase at christmasdonebright.com or contact Clark at the judge-executive's office to see a catalogue, including prices. They will have a lighted sign posted next to the display, courtesy of the Graves County Road Department. Displays will have a recurrent charge of $100 yearly to maintain the sponsorship, Clark said. All displays must be purchased by Oct. 1 to allow time for pickup and display assembly.
"There are a lot of things going on in the county, and I think the businesses have expressed wanting to support the community, so this is a way," Clark said.
She said she is also looking for community groups and other volunteers to accept donations each weekend the display is open.
A final route for the light display has not been finalized, Clark said. The Graves County Road Department will set up the lights, which are designed with LED bulbs to minimize power costs.