Editorial: Marshall's Wonderland of Lights embarks on its second 30 years
By The Marshall News Messenger
Nov. 28, 2017 at 12:26 a.m.
The weather was crisp, the streets were full and people were ready for Wonderland of Lights to kick off Wednesday for its 31st year. The 1901 Historical Harrison County Courthouse emanated a festive aura, having been ensconced in hundreds of thousands of twinkle lights as well as larger-than-life toy soldiers and trees.
Residents snapped selfies, burst into spontaneous caroling and took advantage of the myriad activities the festival offers. Excellent performances were once again given by the First United Methodist Church Day School singers and the Marshall High School Mavettes. Many attendees hopped into downtown shops and eateries to enjoy some holiday treats and pick up stocking stuffers.
The first few days of the month-long festival have seemed to go off without a hitch, drawing large, engaged crowds to downtown. Saturday's Wassail Walk also was well attended by both locals and out of towners as was the Christmas Arts & Crafts Market at the Marshall Visual Art Center. These events drew people downtown during the nationally recognized Small Business Saturday, which aims to promote shopping at small, independent retailers.
We are so gratified to see so many coming out to enjoy the glittering courthouse and all of downtown dressed up in its holiday best.
We sincerely hope the streets continue to be filled with people, as that's the only way the festival will continue.
Wonderland is now an institution in Marshall, as synonymous with the city as anything we can think of. The city is known far and wide as the Christmas lights town, but the festival is by no means guaranteed. The event has only lasted as long as it has (a good, long time by all accounts) because the town supports it. More than the sponsors and the organizers, who do a wonderful job, topping themselves year after year, is the town, the residents who support the festival. They come out, they invite their families and friends to spend a weekend here and enjoy the happenings downtown. They spread the word. They share photos online, tag friends across the state. They make a concerted effort to let others know about the wonder in Marshall during this most wonderful time of year.
Without such support there's no way Wonderland can make it another 30 years. The festival has had its up years and its down years, but has survived for so long because Marshall wants it to and is willing to work to make that happen. We hope residents remember they are the ones who will keep alive the Wonderland of Lights. And we hope it lives much longer than just the next 30 years.