It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Jefferson City.
The mid-November dusting of snow helped, but so did work on a new holiday display being erected near a Capital City credit union.
River Region Credit Union, in collaboration with landscaping company WestCo Grounds Maintenance, will open up a new Christmas lights display on Thanksgiving night, featuring a 32-feet tall tree and a 200-feet long lighted drive-thru tunnel.
The display, currently under construction, is set to open Nov. 24, and will run every week, Thursday through Sunday, until New Year's Day. The aim of the display is to give back to the community whether through smiles or, more specifically, through donations made to five nonprofit Jefferson City-based organizations each time a car passes through the tunnel.
Louie Delk, chief member experience officer at River Region, reiterated it's all about giving back this holiday season.
"You know, a bunch of us here at the credit union, we really enjoy the Christmas season," Delk said. "We like getting out with our families and our friends, and going to see lights. And so we thought it would be fun if we could give a little something back to the community and try to put up a light display that's a little bit bigger, maybe a little bit better, and certainly a little bit different from anything else you might see in the Jefferson City area."
The complete setup will consist of five Christmas trees, including the 32-footer, along with two 20-footers and two 12-footers. The 32-footer will measure 20 feet in diameter at the base and will have 24,000 bulbs on it. It will also include computer-driven animation, according to Delk.
"We think it will be a really impactful site when we're all done," he said. "It should be pretty neat to drive through and experience."
For Mike West, chief executive officer of WestCo Grounds Maintenance, this display is the biggest project his company has worked on to date.
"We've got homes and other businesses that have the basic lights and the basic light display, but nothing of this caliber," West said.
WestCo Grounds Maintenance, a Jefferson City-based company operating since 2010, was chosen for the project for exactly this reason.
"They asked several different local contractors to provide this service, and we were chosen mainly because of our experience and our size to be able to handle a project like this," West said.
And it's all being done with the holiday spirit in mind, focusing on Jefferson City residents and the community at large.
"It just puts a smile on my face that we can not only help out the credit union, but again, we can help put smiles on other people's faces in the community," West said.
The five non-profit organizations that will receive donations from River Region are Boys & Girls Club of Jefferson City, Jefferson City Animal Shelter, the Special Learning Center, River Oak Christian Academy, and St. Joseph Cathedral School.