Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 9, 2016

Holiday lights dedicated to Joe Hird

By VICKI TILLIS, Ledger lifestyles editor | Nov 28, 2016
VICKI TILLIS/Ledger photo After flipping the switch to turn on the holiday lights in Central Park Friday evening, the holiday lights dedication honoree Joe Hird, center, receives congratulations from, co-worker Joe Nelson, left, and Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce  administrator Lindsey Waugh. Hird, assistant superintendent of Fairfield’s street department, has helped decorate the city for 16 years.

Fairfield’s holiday lights were dedicated to Joe Hird, the city’s street department assistant superintendent, Friday evening in Central Park.

Each year, the Fairfield Area chamber of Commerce Christmas Committee is tasked with choosing a person or organization who best exemplified holiday spirit,” chamber administrator Lindsey Waugh explained to the crowd gathered in the darkness in Central Park.

Waugh said Hird has provided more than a decade of dedicated service related to Fairfield’s infamous holiday lighting display.

“This person exemplifies the essence of the holiday spirit in many more ways than the nominating committee was aware of,” said Waugh. “For an example, there was recently a man down and out in Fairfield without a place to stay. While many people tend to turn their attention away from a situation such as this, our honoree went to their church and raised money to help this person. Our honoree also offered to drive this perfect stranger over 250 miles one-way so they could be with their nearest relative.”

According to Waugh, Hird, as a member of the city street crew, not only helps set up the Central Park display, but he also decorates his family home in Libertyville, winning the best-decorated prize two consecutive years.

“He is thorough and detailed and takes pride in how the square looks each year,” she continued. “In fact, his wife said that two to three times per week, their family drives to town from Libertyville to make sure Rudolph’s nose is red, takes notes on which bulbs need replaced and generally make sure the lights continue to look perfect for Fairfield. Before we all gathered here this evening ... [Hird] was likely here checking the lights one last time.

“Year after year, [Hird] has been the one to show the holiday lighting dedication recipient where the switch is to flood our beloved park with holiday lights. However, this year, the honor is all his,” Waugh said.

As Waugh predicted he would, Hird said the holiday lighting display was a group effort, and he was glad to be a part of it.

Hird started the countdown, then made his way from the north side of the Ron Prill Band Stand through the crowd to the electrical box where he flipped the switch illuminating the park in festive holiday lights once again.

The evening also included caroling by Fairfield High School choir students and alumni, a welcome by Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Detra Dettmann, horse-drawn wagon rides around Central Park, a free shuttle bus from the square to the live outdoor nativity at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and the Festival of Trees, a new fundraising opportunity for Little Superheroes.

The evening also included Santa’s arrival to chat with boys and girls in his Kandy Kane House in the northeast corner of Central Park. He will be visiting kids again from 6-8 p.m. Friday during Fairfield 1st Fridays Art Walk, Dec. 12-16 and Dec. 19-23.

To support Fairfield’s holiday lights, the holiday lighting dedication and all the decorations around the square, the chamber of commerce is overseeing its Trees of Lights Campaign again this year.

People can make a donation or a memorial in honor of a loved one. The chamber will recognize donors and designees in The Fairfield Ledger during the last week in December unless they wish to be anonymous. The deadline to be included in this year’s list of donors is Dec. 25.

For information about donating to the Trees of Lights Campaign, contact the chamber at 472-2111 or www.chamber@FairfieldIowa.com.

The Fairfield Christmas Committee members include chairwoman Deb Davis, Tammy Dunbar, Ginny Hughes, Melanie Lisk, Sara Kelly, Waugh and Dettmann.

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