Holiday lights dedicated to Reiff
Fairfield’s holiday lighting display was dedicated to Fairfield businessman and volunteer Dave Reiff during the lighting ceremony Friday evening in Central Park.
Mistress of ceremony and Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce holiday committee member Josie Hannes explained the dedication honor is bestowed upon someone in the community who best exemplifies the holiday spirit through deeds and actions.
“We have chosen someone who has been a tireless volunteer for the betterment of Fairfield,” Hannes told the crowds gathered in the cold darkness near the park’s bandstand.
This morning, Reiff said he was surprised by the honor, which is kept secret each year until the announcement at the ceremony.
“The Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas lighting dedication recipient is a close friend of Santa Claus,” Hannes said Friday night. “He has been escorting Santa to Central Park on Christmas Eve for more than 30 years as a key organizer, supporter and driver of the Rotary Christmas parade. His effort and dedication to the Christmas parade has helped many Fairfield families start or carry on the wonderful Fairfield Christmas Eve tradition of watching Santa parade through the streets of town on this way to Central Park to greet the children who are lined up and waiting for him.”
“It’s really a Rotary acknowledgement,” Reiff said today, explaining the parade has been the Rotary’s gift to the community for more than 80 years. “I’ve been one of the committee people ever since I can remember, so Rotary is why I was in the forefront.”
According to Hannes, Reiff’s accolades in addition to being a Fairfield Rotary Club member, also include: serving on both the Fairfield Community School District Board of Directors and the Fairfield Economic Development Association for many years; being active in 4-H and establishing the Jefferson County Fair petting zoo; being active in the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce; being an elementary and middle school mentor for many years; and being involved with the platelet donor program and donating more than 15 gallons of blood at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
Hannes said when not involved with community or business activities — Reiff is owner of Reiff Grain and Feed — “this Christmas-loving citizen” relaxes by spending time with his family: wife Diane; daughters Emily, Molly and Lindsay; and his grandchildren.
The crowd joined the Fairfield High School choir in “Silent Night” and “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer” before the countdown cueing Reiff to throw the switch turning Fairfield into Christmas City.
The glowing holiday lights beckoned Santa to his Kandy Kane House in the northeast corner of Central Park via Ed Spees’ horse-drawn wagon, escorted by a Fairfield police car.
The evening also included horse-drawn wagon rides around the square, the Fairfield Lions Club’s soup supper and auction at the Fairfield Senior Citizen Center and a live nativity scene at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).