“May you never be too old to search the skies on Christmas Eve”—anonymous.
The Christmas Village is set up and ready for viewing. For the last five years, Lusk locals Matthew and Jeannette McConnell, Lawrence Pavone Jr. and Lawrence Pavone Sr. have been setting up the Christmas Village at the fairgrounds, offering a walk-through Christmas experience complete with hot cocoa and cookies for anyone who comes through the door.
“About five years ago me and my dad were talking. We lived in Oregon and we used to go to something like this and we got to talking and we were like let’s just do it” states Jeannette McConnell who, along with the rest of her family, takes the time to set up Christmas lights, a giant tree, and large Christmas blow-up decorations, one of which includes a reindeer that stands the height of the Shooting Sports Building where they are located this year. The Fairgrounds donates the location. The last three years we were in the barn and it was always so cold. Last year the barn was used for a wedding so they offered the Shooting Sports Building” explains McConnell.
The family is happy the Fairgrounds are glad to help the occasion and are also excited about other community establishments beginning to get involved. “The Elks are now sponsoring; they’ve sponsored the last three years. Deckers were gracious enough, they couldn’t decorate but they donated treats all week long” And then there are the displays. Starting out with a Nativity scene, displays line the length of the buildings walls, circle around to the other end and include an island of displays in the middle; leading to the cookie and hot cocoa station located in the kitchen. “Anybody who wanted to do a Christmas display just had to let us know and we set aside a spot for them and they came in and decorated...School kids [will be] coming in to view the trees” shares McConnell.
The family was sure to also include the big guy himself—Santa. Nestled in the corned and ready to bring the magic of Christmas alive, Lawrence Pavone Sr. dons a Santa suit and sits in a chair, white beard and jolly laugh included. It’s one way the family is looking to spread the Christmas cheer, another is, “Our big thing is we do have a box for canned goods for Santa’s Helpers so it’s kind of the community helping the community” explains McConnell, adding of the overall experience of bringing a new event to the community, “It’s been a lot of fun; it takes a lot of time to put it together, but it’s a lot of fun”. The Christmas Village will run until Friday, December 21 nightly from 5 p.m. to7 pm and is a free event.