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Great Bend updates its Trail of Lights
new slt decorations Main photo
A pair of toy soldiers guard the Williams Street entrance to Brit Spaugh Park, where motorists enter on the Trail of Lights. New Christmas decorations were purchased with a gift from the Barbara Bushness Memorial Fund. - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune



Great Bend has some new sparkles in its Trail of Lights.

The first thing people will see as they enter Brit Spaugh Park from Williams Street are the new toy soldiers standing guard at either side of the gate, each about 16 feet tall. When they exit the park on north Main Street they’ll see crossed candy canes, which are also new decorations.

Those who drive through the park at night may also see some volunteers at the greeting cottage, said Christina Hayes, community coordinator. The Trail of Lights will be lit this Wednesday at dusk, but the "official" lighting will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday, with the lighting of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree in the courthouse square (followed by a parade and downtown activities). After that, volunteers will be at the greeting cottage from 6-9 p.m. nightly to hand out literature, take donations for the lights, and gather information on car tags to document where visitors come from.

Hayes said she still needs volunteers for five dates in December. Anyone who wants more information can call her at the city office, 793-4111.

The Trail of Lights includes the Twelve Days of Christmas at Veterans Park, Wild Lights at Brit Spaugh Park, and lights in the courthouse square. The Barton County Historical Society has its own display at the museum, located just south of the Arkansas River Bridge on U.S. 281.

The new Mayor’s Christmas Tree in the courthouse square adds 20,600 twinkles to the trail this year. The tree cost about $20,000, but the new decorations at Brit Spaugh Park were purchased with a gift, City Administrator Howard Partington said.

"This wasn’t something we sought out," Partington said of the donation, but the gift did free up money for the tree purchase. The Barbara Bushnell Memorial Fund, administered by the Golden Belt Community Foundation, will award $60,000 to the city over the next five years, with the funds to be split between Brit Spaugh Park and Veterans Memorial Park. This year the money was used for the decorations at Brit Spaugh, and to start repaving the walking trail at Vets Park.