Last Updated on November 6, 2023 by Logansport Parks and Recreation Department
By Kylee Langley, Logansport Parks Student Intern
The Christmas season is a very special time of year. In Logansport, this is no exception. Starting at the end of November, the community works together to put on various events and activities to celebrate the holiday season. One of the most popular events that takes place is Christmas In the Park.
“I think from my perspective, Christmas is a very special time of year,” Allan James, Iron horse Broadcasting radio host said. “If nobody in the marketplace is claiming Christmas as a special destination for their community, somebody can grab it. Since we already have in place several components that are Christmas related, a park destination for Christmas In the Park definitely fits that model for the community.”
Since 2017 the Logansport Parks and Recreation Department has produced Christmas In the Park at Spencer Park. Parks Administrator, Janet Fawley shared her thoughts on providing this wonderful program: “Since Christmas In the Park began in 2017, the community has embraced this opportunity to drive-thru a concentration of holiday lights in this very public space. This has become a labor of love from our staff to the community, and we’re very proud to provide this grand gesture of holiday cheer every year. Personally, I’m all “gaga” for a beautiful light show.”
Although many people don’t see the effort that goes into making this event successful, there is a lot of planning and promoting behind the scenes.
“Honestly, we start planning for the next year even before the current display is finished. We’re always thinking about its future! Our biggest job though, is to secure donations from sponsors so that each year we can make it grow. Getting displays, lights, and other supplies is easy when you have the funds to do it.
One of the major donors is the Cass County Visitors Bureau.
“Without the Visitors Bureau we wouldn’t be able to promote Christmas In the Park for the economical value that we are able to do it,” Fawley said. “The Visitors Bureau has always stepped up and helped us promote it. This has helped us bring other partners in as well. Mostly, Angie [Phillips] lets me figure out exactly how we’re going to promote it, and their board provides the funds to make sure it happens.”
Even though money is the most common donation, some businesses offer different kinds of donations and support.
“The radio station is different from the average business,” Allan said. “Radio station as a product has “air time.” That air time can be leveraged for good all the time. Most businesses will give a cash donation. However, the radio station has air time to give.”
Promotion and advertisements are also a way that Christmas In the Park reaches out to community members.
“I feel that it does get the message out to our community, to let the community know that that is what is available to them at no cost,” Pharos Tribune Sales Representative, Renee Lococo said. “It’s not just Logansport, we hit Howard County pretty hard. Not only is the Pharos Tribune a Logansport/Cass County paper, our newspaper goes to five surrounding counties as well. We get a pretty wide reach of readership.”
Like the Pharos Tribune, Cass County Online also helps promote Christmas In the Park.
“I know that we reach a wide variety of people. Locally, regionally, and then nationally,” Cass County Communications Executive Director, Michelle Dials said. “I think people come to the calendar page expecting to see things to do and so it’s a thing that’s there to do. We have it listed on Cass County Online and the app. We reach a lot of people and it’s a way to get the word out.”
Seeing the success of a donation helps donors continue to support the event year after year.
“For me personally I see these things grow,” Allan said. “I’m rooting for you to be successful because if you are, that means everything came together. We have a great plan, we offer something attractive to the community, they respond to our message, and we’re all walking away feeling that we accomplished something. That is the greatest feeling in the world.”
Someone that has a large role in Christmas In the Park is Parks Maintenance Superintendent, Kevin Price. Price works for the whole month of November to set up the lights and displays and then has the job to take it all down.
“Even working here all day long I still come at night time, even multiple times a week,” Price said. “It’s a sense of satisfaction and joy. It brings me the feeling of Christmas. I know it’s still before Christmas but it gives that holiday feeling.”
By being such a large part of the event, Price is eager to see donations to help the success of Christmas In the Park.
“Donating of course gives us a bigger event,” Price said. “Everyone always talks about We Care Park in Kokomo and how big it was, even though they were around for 20 some years. People have an expectation of grandeur so the only way we can ever get to that is with community help. This all has been purchased from community donations. That’s really what has built this. Moving forward, donations is what will help us keep this open.”
Although community members are able to enjoy this Christmas event at no charge, donations are appreciated. Donation boxes are located at the beginning and the end of the display at Spencer Park.
“It takes a lot of upkeep,” CCVB Executive Director, Angie Phillips said. ”The lights, electricity, the set-up, the tear down….It’s a lot of effort. People need to realize that things can’t just happen on their own. Someone has to put in that effort. As a community we all have to work together. If you see something great, promote it either with your time, money, or however you can. It’s a great way to make sure it continues.”
With the help of donations and support, Christmas In the Park continues to evolve year after year.
“I think it’s an event that the community has really enjoyed over the past years,” Dials said. “It’s evolved from what it started as. I think it’s something that people in the community really appreciate.”
This year Christmas In the Park will take place from November 24th, the day after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.
“I think it’s a great tradition, it’s a holiday tradition,” says Phillips. “Holiday is generally the time you think of family, friends, togetherness, celebration, and just being together. This is one place where you can just go with all your family members. Three or four generations can go together and enjoy the event. It’s free unless you want to donate. I just think it’s a beautiful way to celebrate our parks and to celebrate the holiday. It’s not dependent on religion, it just reaches out to everyone.”
About the author… Kylee Langley is a student of Logansport High School, and is participating in their student intern class. Her assignment has been to work with the Logansport Parks & Recreation Department to help promote &/or report the many activities and issues that the Parks Department is involved in. Kylee has written several press releases and articles for the Parks Department. Kylee plans to attend college and major in journalism.