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Will Christmas lighting on Tama County Courthouse square fade away?

February 8, 2018
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Holiday lights which have adorned the Tama County Courthouse square in downtown Toledo for many years need a new "power" source. The display has been sponsored by local businesses and residents and coordinated by the Tama-Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce and the Toledo Chamber before the merger.

Now, the T-T Area Chamber has announced it "is ready to pass the torch" when it comes to lighting the square.

Chamber President Matt Zmolek said in a news release, "That while many people enjoy the lights, the expense is just too great. Ideally, someone with a love of holiday tradition will come forward to keep the town square twinkling.

Article Photos

1952 issue of the Toledo Chronicle told of the arrival of Santa, a Nativity Scene and more for the Tama Coutny Courthouse Christmas display on the lawn in downtown Toledo, Iowa.

"We had to make a tough decision about how to best use member dues and donations. We've decided to continue focusing on growing our community-wide celebration, which was very successful last year thanks to members, sponsors and volunteers," Zmolek said.

The release said the Chamber spends more than $5,000 annually for the Courthouse square lighting.

The Chamber will continue to coordinate the Hometown Holiday Celebration in November.

Any person or group interested in taking over the courthouse square holiday lighting is invited to contact Chamber coordinator Janet Busch by calling 641-484-6661.

It is known the Courthouse Square decorating was underway after World War II. The Dec. 11, 1952 issue of The Chronicle featured photos of near-life-size cut-outs of Santa, his sleigh and reindeer and a Nativity scene which had just bee placed on the square.

It was reported then long-time city employee Ernie Mayo had jig-sawed the decorations out of masonite and built the stands for them. Marie Ferneau Heishman had then painted the figures.

A set of Christmas carolers also made up the display.

The Toledo Fire Department has long provided the personnel for decorating the downtown electric light poles.



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