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Chamber hosts Parade of Trees

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    Marler’s Plumbing Services put up a Christmas tree for the contest with little toilet ornaments. ALAINA CLARKE/Staff
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    A Christmas tree made from tires is set up in front of the W.E. Knox Civic Center for the Parade of Trees. ALAINA CLARKE/Staff

The Jones County/Gray Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Parade of Trees, where businesses set up creative Christmas trees and the community can come out to the W.E. Knox Civic Center to see them.

Haley Watson, executive director of the Chamber, said it was $100 for the businesses to decorate their own tree and put it out in front of the W.E. Knox Civic Center. She said there was no theme and the businesses could be as creative as they wanted.

“Since we haven’t been able to do any of our fundraisers and the parade was cancelled, we wanted to do something to bring the Christmas spirit,” she said. “We decided to do the Parade of Trees. It’s COVID-19 friendly, and it’s a way for us to generate money. It also generates publicity for the businesses.”

She said they will be judging the trees and the winner will receive a trophy, plus bragging rights. She said the public can judge on Facebook around Dec. 15 by going to ChamberOfCommerce.

Chamber Administrative Asssistant Heather Johnson said people can make a weekend event out of the Christmas theme in Jones County. She said they can go see the various lights at the School System Transportation Department, go shopping at the local businesses, eat in the local restaurants, plus see the trees at the W.E. Knox Civic Center.

“We wanted different types of trees. The more creative these are, the more people in the community will come out to see them. When you have something that attracts families to your downtown area, they stay here, they shop here and they eat here,” Johnson said.

Watson said the trees will stay up until after Christmas, so people can drive-thru and look at the trees or park and walk around the trees at any time. She said at night the trees will be lit up with lights.

“My favorite thing about having the Parade of Trees is seeing the community enjoy the trees,” the executive director said. “The creativity is fun. Seeing people come up with different ideas about their business is fun to us.”

The administrative assistant said they love Jones County, and she’s happy the Chamber of Commerce can make it better around the holidays. She said it hasn’t been an easy year, but they want to continue to see people smile.

“This all ties back to one community, one heartbeat. Our community is tight knit, and we want to keep it that way, especially due to the year we have had,” Johnson said.

Watson said she wants people enjoying their Christmas holiday and getting out of the house. She said it’s a time of joy and to be positive in the community. She said she hopes to see people out and enjoying the Parade of Trees.

“Why not come see the trees? What else do you have better to do in 2020? You can ride right up in your car,” the executive director said. “You can see the unique trees and it’s free to do. Come out and enjoy it.”