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GRTS Students Building Drive-Through Arch for Festival of Lights
April 7, 2011, Constitution Tribune (See completed arch 2013 below.)

CAPTION: Grand River Technical School students are in the process of building an 18-feet drive-through holly arch to be placed in the park for the annual Festival of Lights. Once built, the arch will resemble at night the holly arch pictured.

Submitted Photo/CT

It's warming up outside, but inside, preparations are underway for the 2011 Festival of Lights in Simpson Park. Students of Lee Caughron, welding instructor at Grand River Technical School, are in the process of building an 18 feet drive-through holly arch to be placed in the park for the annual community Christmas display. Funds were raised last year to purchase the supplies for the arch which is on track to be completed before school dismisses for the summer.

"The Festival of Lights Committee is very excited to have put this project in the capable hands of Lee Caughron and his students. After discovering the arch at another park, we took the plans to our Chillicothe park staff who suggested consulting with Caughron. When contacted, Caughron readily saw an opportunity for his students to be involved," explained Barb Burton, Festival of Lights Coordinator. "The holly arch project gives the students a sense of pride and community. It also allows them to work on and create something tactually," says Lee Caughron, Grand River Technical School welding instructor.

The Festival of Lights is a free drive-through display of colorful Christmas lights and decorations in Simpson Park during the holiday season. Funds for lights and decorations are contributed each year by individuals, organizations, businesses and foundations.

The Festival of Lights Committee, Barb Burton, Janet Barnhart, Marsha Beetsma, Mary Lou Wilhoit, and Kathy Gilliland, voluntarily plan the project and decorate the park with the help of community volunteers, the Chillicothe Parks Department and Chillicothe Municipal Utilities.

Photo: 2013

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