Members of Keep Van Alstyne Beautiful may have been chanting the old childhood adage, “Rain, rain, go away, K-VAB wants to play,” this past week as the incoming rain and cold were culprits in the timely decoration of the Dorothy Fielder Park area. Actually, KVAB began decorating the park a day earlier than scheduled, Friday, because of the scheduled Saturday rain, which blew into town right on its blistery agenda.
“Ninety percent of the park is done, and we’re also going to decorate the entrance area into Van Alstyne (at U.S. 75 and FM 121),” KVAB president Vicki Guess said.
The Van Alstyne Fire Department strings the lights and decorations on the tall Christmas tree in the park, and that project, too, was put on hold until Thursday, when the firemen were able to climb up their ladders and, like the KVAB crews, make Christmas magic out of the majestic evergreen that daily greets passers-by on Jefferson Street.
Dorothy Fielder Park now is a wonderland of Christmas joy, with two other types of trees, mostly handcrafted ornaments, a Disney character section, and all overseen by Santa and his bride as he gets into his sleigh to begin his rounds.
“We met one day at the Senior Center, about five of us for about five hours, just beginning the planning process,” Guess said. “Between the painting, the planning, the construction of trees, and the time putting it all in, we probably have 150 hours or more on this project. It takes so much more than people realize.”
She said the project was a success mainly due to the creativity of the volunteers and what they were able to do with the decorations.
“We have a lot of creative people, and we reused and recycled and re-purposed almost everything,” Guess said. “We went to our storage unit to see what we have and started with that.”
Guess said they received several donations. One was from the First Baptist Church, which donated much of the decorations used for Vacation Bible School. For instance, Guess pointed out, the gazebo itself is afloat in white-painted snow mounds.
“Those (plywood boards) were actually an ocean for the church’s Vacation Bible School, and we re-purposed them to look like snow,” she said. “We also used some of their donations during Fall der All (the city’s fall festival) and for other Christmas decorations — the candy, the garland.”
Guess said it was impossible to name all the people who helped make the gazebo and park light up.
“Debe Wyatt is the chairman of the Beautification Committee, and she’s the one who organized it all,” she said. “And there are lots more volunteers who have worked to make this possible. Gosh, one lady painted the (Disney-type) characters. Someone else made the puppets. A couple made another set of trees from pallets. The Green Acre Garden Center donated about 50 pumpkins, which we painted to look like Christmas ornaments.”
Keep Van Alstyne Beautiful relies on membership dues, donations and corporate sponsors, Guess said. The non-profit organization meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month, at Texas Star Bank.
“And these meetings are open to anyone,” she said.
For more information about Keep Van Alstyne Beautiful, go online to http://www.kvab.org.