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Volunteers give holiday makeover
Jay Myers, left, and Beth Laughinghouse, Mainstreet Jefferson program manager, work on decorating a porch in Jefferson for the annual Christmas parade, which is scheduled for Dec. 5. - photo by BRANDEE A. THOMAS
While driving through downtown Jefferson, it may seem like the annual Christmas decorations just appear by magic. But it is actually the work of a group of dedicated volunteers.

“We always start the week of Thanksgiving,” said Beth Laughinghouse, Mainstreet Jefferson program manager. “We hope that it inspires some of the businesses to go ahead and start decorating also.”

The decorating process started with the Jefferson Public Works Department hanging the traditional, red and green holiday signs and illuminated snowflakes and angels from some of the city’s utility poles — but the work doesn’t stop there.

There were wreaths to be fluffed, ribbons to be tied into beautiful bows and garland to unsnarl. After all of the prep work was completed, the Mainstreet volunteers set out to spread a little holiday cheer in the main downtown corridor near Sycamore Street.

While decorating may seem like fun and games, getting to some of the choice locations involves a bit of risk.

“Last year I helped decorate the (White) Bridge. It was OK when cars went by, but when the big trucks came you just had to kind of hold your breath,” said Guy Dean Benson, Jefferson Board of Education member and Mainstreet volunteer.

“It was a little scary when the big trucks would come by because that bridge is so narrow and you’re just right there.”

Although some aspects of the project carry the thrill of a little danger, the volunteers say that all of their hard-work is worth it when the job is complete.

“The ultimate goal is to have everything done by the Christmas parade,” said Laughinghouse.

The annual Jefferson Christmas Parade will begin at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Memorial Stadium and will wind its way to downtown. Entries for the parade are being accepted through Monday at the Mainstreet Jefferson offices inside the Crawford W. Long Museum on College Street.

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