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Festival of trees has something for all

By Mehgaan Jones

mjones@news-daily.com

The Christmas lights, colorful seasonal displays, decorated trees, and holiday music should be enough to put the average grinch in the Christmas spirit.

But for those who need a bit more prodding, there will also be an opportunity to create gingerbread men and take pictures with Santa Claus.

The Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department, in partnership with Rainbow House, Inc., will offer all of that -- and more -- at the Eighth Annual Festival of Trees and Lights, Dec. 3-19, at Clayton County International Park. The park is located at 2300 Highway 138 SE, in Jonesboro.

According to the parks and recreation department, the festival will be divided into two parts this year: The lights tour only, and the lights tour combined with a host of other activities.

"The activities will include making gingerbread men, arts and crafts, face-painting, a cake-walk and hayrides," said Lindsey DeLong, marketing and sales specialist for the parks and recreation department. "We are always looking to give back to the community ... especially with Rainbow House," said DeLong.

"Most of the proceeds from the festival will go to the Rainbow House," she said.

Samantha Brewer, a program supervisor for the department, said there will also be live entertainment by local performers, and local schools.

Brewer said the opening ceremony on Dec. 3, will include the lighting of a tree, an orchestra playing Christmas music, and speeches by local officials and directors of various local organizations.

The lights tour by itself, will run on Tuesday through Thursday, from 6:30 p.m., until 9 p.m. The lights tour with activities will be held Friday through Sunday, from 6:30 p.m., until 9 p.m.

The lights tour only prices for are: $5 for cars; $7 for vans, and $15 buses.

The lights tour and activities prices are: $7 for cars; $10 for vans, and $20 for buses.

Angela Glover, Rainbow House's event coordinator and fund-raising manager, said the Festival of Trees and Lights is the group's primary fund-raiser. The Rainbow House, Inc., is an organization that provides temporary shelter to children who are victims of abuse, neglect or abandonment.

"The event is in honor of the families of Mickey Taylor and Warren Walker," said Glover. She added that Taylor and Walker, now deceased, were members of the board of directors of Rainbow House.

Brewer said a game room will be added this year for children, and there will be an information table with literature on Rainbow House, and Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department programs.

"We will have a movie night, on Dec. 11, around dusk," said Brewer. She said the group will be showing the 2009 movie, "A Christmas Carol," starring Jim Carrey.