I’m proud to be a lifelong resident of McMinnville. I’m also a huge fan of Christmas decorations. That’s a love that was first inspired by my dad, who never quite went full Clark Griswold with his decorations, but not because he didn’t want to. He loved decorating for Christmas and many of you probably remember his handiwork without knowing who did it. If you ever drove past a house on Smithville Highway with a huge blue Dallas Cowboys star stretched across the end of it, you saw some of his work.
As a kid, I always enjoyed the Christmas decorations that would pop up downtown and in shopping center parking lots. To the best of my memory they were little more than plastic molds of candles or shapes made of green tinsel accented with red plastic balls. I find it hard now to describe in words what those old decorations looked like but I have no doubt any longtime McMinnville resident over the age of 35 can picture them in their heads right now.
I also remember when Woodbury debuted the snowflakes on light poles that they still have today. Dad and I were blown away by those and the way they formed graceful arcs undulating along with the rise and fall of the road.
But now, fellow Warren Countians, I’m here to say I believe we are living in the peak time in the history of Warren County Christmas decorations. Over the past few years, Hank Patton and his team at McMinnville Public Works have continued to elevate the downtown holiday display to new levels never before reached. They’ve even added a speaker system that plays music downtown. Coupled with the Main Street renovation, the influx of stores and new additions like the synthetic ice rink brought in by the Tourism Development Board in partnership with McMinnville Parks and Recreation, our downtown area is truly a Christmas-season destination for people from surrounding counties. I’ve even had visiting family members from New Jersey and South Carolina be blown away by what we have right here in our own backyard.
I love just spending time downtown when Hank and his crew have worked their magic and, this year, I plan to try to not break anything while getting on the new skating rink. As big of a hockey fan as I am, I’ve never actually been on ice skates, so this could be interesting.
I’ll wrap up this column by extending a thank you to everyone who has done so much to spread some holiday joy this Christmas season. Your hard work has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.
Standard Managing Editor Seth Wright can be reached at (931) 473-2191