Each year about this time, Fayetteville's downtown square is festooned with lights: white lights, colored lights, winding up tree trunks, blanketing bushes, blinking, glowing, pretty, pretty lights. The energy-wasting display is completely over the top, and every year the City Council threatens to discontinue the popular Lights of the Ozarks. And every year, Fayetteville citizens scream, "Oh no you don't!"
How else would we know that Christmas is coming if we didn't attend the parade with our children and sigh in awe when the switch is flipped and all 450,000 lights turn on? What would replace the smells of hot cocoa, kettle corn and cotton candy that fortunately mask the smells of the pony and camel rides? Despite frigid temperatures, almost every night there are bands and choirs providing live holiday music. There is a dedicated lane for horse-drawn carriages, and I've heard that this year there will be reindeer. I totally just got goosebumps.
City workers spent over 2,000 hours stringing up the lights that will be lit every night through December 31. The theme of this year’s parade is “Rocking in a Green Wonderland.” Ah, the irony. City of Fayetteville, you have overthought municipal holiday decor. And I love you for it.