Lions let the Christmas lights roar in downtown Millersburg

Lions let the Christmas lights roar in downtown Millersburg
Dave Mast

With the flick of a few switches, downtown Millersburg sprang to life in a plume of color and festivity as the Millersburg Lions ushered Christmas into town on Friday, Nov. 13.


While the Millersburg Lions Club Christmas Lighting Festival in Historic Downtown Millersburg was officially canceled due to the coronavirus on Friday, Nov. 13, it didn’t stop the Lions from lighting up downtown and ushering in the holidays.

Despite having to cancel Santa Claus, the hot chocolate and caramel corn, and other festivities, the lights did come on and created a winter wonderland of Christmas cheer.

It took teamwork and a lot of hours of stringing lights, decorating the courthouse lawn and even the welcome sign on the south side of town, but the Lions were able to put it all together in the end.

“Even though we had to cancel everything that went with it, we were able to get the downtown area lit, and it looks fantastic,” Lions Club President Frank Arnold said. “We were worried about safety and having everyone come together, even though it was outside, and we had to call it. That is the life we live in right now, and some things you can’t control.”

New snowflake lights and red ribbons adorn the old-fashioned street lamp posts throughout the downtown area, and the Lions created a Christmas sight to behold in the courthouse lawn, where they decorated all of the trees with colorful lights and lit the walls of the courthouse itself. In addition, large lit ornamental arches were placed at the courthouse lawn and the triangle park area on the south side of town.

Because the event was canceled at such a late date, there were families and couples that showed up to celebrate the lighting ceremony, some as far away as Mansfield. While disappointed with no Santa and hot chocolate, the visitors didn’t seem to let that spoil their joy, taking pictures and wandering around the newly lit area in HDM.

“All we could tell the families was that we were sorry, and they all understood,” Arnold said.

Arnold went on to say the club members were very happy with the end result, despite all of the cancellations. He said every year when the Millersburg Lions Club volunteers decorate downtown, they always wonder if it will be as colorful and exciting as they have envisioned it to be. They were not disappointed with the outcome.

Having not had trees to decorate before this year, that was an addition the group welcomed, and Arnold said they were excited about tackling that new project.

“I think the trees being all lit up in the courtyard really adds a lot to the downtown area,” Arnold said. “It puts a little added zip in it. Our goal is to bring Christmas cheer and joy to the downtown area each Christmas season, and it certainly has done that.”

The lights will now be on each evening until the middle of January, presenting a glow of Christmas cheer for all who venture downtown.

Arnold said the club is already excited about the prospects of what the holidays in downtown Millersburg might look like in November 2021.

“Just wait until next year,” Arnold said. “Next year we will have Santa Claus and all of the other fun stuff that comes with the lighting ceremony that we didn’t have this year, and we have something new planned that is really going to be something. We just have to wait another 12 months to reveal it. We plan to keep adding to it to make it even more brightly lit and spectacular. Right now we are planning something that should really be amazing for people to see. The hope is that we keep this thing growing because we really think it helps people get in the holiday spirit, and it definitely makes visiting downtown Millersburg at night something special.”

The Millersburg Lions continue to be active in the community in many ways including providing eye wear to those who can’t afford it, and the decorating task has been part of the group’s MO for years.

Arnold said putting up the lights every year is a lot of work, but it is something the Lions Club members see as being a vital part of promoting Millersburg and bringing Christmas cheer to everyone.

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