Graves Christmas light program shines Over 50 displays bought so far

SHELLEY BYRNE/The Mayfield Messenger

E.J. Clark, administrative assistant in Judge-Executive Jesse Perry's office, looks over a catalogue of lighted Christmas scenes available for purchase. The deadline to do so is Oct. 1. Sponsors have bought more than 50 so far for the new Fairgrounds Festival of Lights.

If you thought Graves County would have its own big, drive-through Christmas display when pigs fly ... you'd be right.

"I just thought the flying Christmas pig was perfectly suited for our market," said Natalie Watson, office manager for Off the Hoof and United Livestock Commodities.

The unique lighted holiday display is one of roughly 55 purchased for the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights so far. Some of those, such as nativitiy scenes, include multiple pieces, said E.J. Clark, the administrative assistant in Graves County Judge-Executive Jesse Perry's office who is overseeing the program.

The display will begin Nov. 30, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and will be offered Fridays to Sundays only through Jan. 5, Clark said. The lights will be on from 6 to 9:30 on nights the display is open at the Mayfield/Graves County Fairgrounds on Ky. 121.

Although the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights is free, canned goods will be accepted for area food pantries, as well as monetary donations for Mayfield/Graves County Parks maintenance and programs.

Depending on the initial response, Clark said, the dates for the display could expand next year.

Mayfield Electric and Water System is the primary sponsor. The Graves County Road Department is setting it all up for display.

"I think people just want to be involved in the community," Clark said. "Several people said 'I wish we had done this years ago,' but they're really glad we're doing it now."

Religious scenes have been extremely popular, she said, but other lighted displays have been a bit more unusual. Besides the flying pig, they include an elf kissing a reindeer, Santa in a Model A truck, a toasty snowman with a marshmallow elf and a magical unicorn.

"Several businesses have bought more than one display," Clark said.

As with Off's the Hoof's choice, several of those have been individually suited to the business, she said, such as Youngblood RV Center choosing a "Happy Camper" display.

"There are still plenty available," Clark said, perusing a magazine from the company providing the lights.

Time is running out to order, however. All orders must be placed with the judge-executive's office by Oct. 1 to have time for the orders to be manufactured and picked up in time for Christmas.

The cost of each display is different, but each will come with a $100 recurrent yearly charge to maintain the sponsorship, which includes a lighted sign with the business or organization's name. The judge-executive's office is also still seeking volunteers to collect donations. To sign up, call the office at 270-247-3626.

Watson said Off the Hoof and United Livestock were interested in sponsoring displays because the owners, including her and her husband, Joseph Watson, and business partner Nick Smith, enjoy visiting them in other nearby communities, and the businesses wanted to support a display here.

"We decided to do it because we love taking our kids up to Murray and going to that one," Watson said. "It's just a Christmas tradition. We like the fact that we're teaching our kids that we're not just going and doing it but that they have to roll down the windows and give a canned good. This is a Christmas tradition we thought it would be nice to have in our own hometown."