Christmas festival to benefit Rainbow House

From Staff Reports

Volunteers for the Clayton Festival of Lights will be busy this week setting up for an annual light spectacle that will kick off Thursday this week at the Clayton County International Park.

The 10 acres of decorative lights in the park on Ga. Highway 138 in Jonesboro will benefit the Rainbow House, a local children's shelter that since 1988, has served more than 5,000 children. Visitors can view the display by car throughout the holiday season for a $5 donation.

“Rainbow House has been here for the children for a very long time and we hope to be able to serve children as long as they need us. It is terrible to need a place like Rainbow House but we want to have the programs in place for the children who need us; however, we cannot do that without the help of our good friends and generous neighbors,” said Philip Kouns, Executive Director for Rainbow House.

Three years ago the Rainbow House Service Committee and Board of Trustees created the display, and it has grown each year.

Starting Thursday, December 1 through Sunday, December 4 and Thursday, December 8 through Sunday, December 11 in the Nassau Building, nightly entertainment will be provided by local artists. Santa also will be available for visits. The event also will have a gift shop, holiday gift ideas, crafts for the children, bake sale and cake walk, and snack bar. Activities will continue outside where families can roast marshmallows and enjoy a scenic trip through the lights in an old fashioned hay ride.

The lights go on for the public on Thursday, December 1 at 5 p.m. Gates open each evening at 5 p.m. and close at 9 p.m.

“We had such interest in continuing the festival for a second weekend last year that we felt compelled to do that this year. We hope everyone will come to see the lights and enjoy the other holiday activities”, said Mary Jones, Rainbow House Board of Trustees Chair Person.

Mary Gersbacher, who has chaired the Festival Committee since its inception, said, “We wanted a south side activity that would be fun for the whole family and celebrate the best things about the holiday season - visiting with neighbors, being with family, and put the emphasis back on the children and not so much on the commercial aspects of the holiday. Of course, we are here to help raise funds for Rainbow House and the children they serve but we wanted to do it in a way that celebrates family fun.”

“We need lots of volunteers to put on an event this big. We start decorating before Halloween, thankfully the weather has been mild and we have been able to work outside to get the trees prepared,” said Judy Taylor, Rainbow House Board of Trustees Treasurer. “We could use all the lights and other decorations people can give us and if folks would like to help decorate we could sure use the extra hands.”

Volunteers are always in demand at Rainbow House, whether it is working with fund raisers or with the children - we can always use the extra help. For anyone interested in working with the children directly, our next volunteer orientation is November 29 at 7p.m. at Rainbow House, but everyone is welcomed to assist with the festival. If interested in either of these opportunities please call (770)-478-6905.

For more information on Rainbow House and how you can help our “children of need” please visit our Web site www.rainbowhouseinc.org.