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It’s been looking a lot like Christmas in Lucasville, thanks to GLO (Growing Lucasville Opportunities) and dozens of volunteers and other partners.

The organization has been around, making Lucasville a better place, since 2019. They’ve accomplished a lot in their time, from fundraising to action. Some of their recent victories include presenting gift cards to teachers for school supplies, collecting backpacks and supplies for students in need of extra help, raising $300,000 for Lucasville’s first major park, and a whole lot of Christmas spirit.

They began working on Christmas three years ago, when they purchased lights and installed electrical hookups on poles. The group made a big splash with their new decorations and moved on to install more this year.

“We have 18 of them. We started with 13 and bought 5 more this year. We bought the lights and had the poles wired according to the AEP,” GLO’s Kenny Boldman said. “We then gave the lights to the Trustees, because they pay for the electric, store them, and put them up.”

They also work with Valley High School art classes to decorate downtown business windows. The organization purchases supplies for the project and then donates money and a pizza party to the art students at the end of the year.

“The kids and teacher Kelly Montgomery are great. This is the third or fourth year that they’ve painted the business windows,” Boldman said. “They do a fantastic job. It is incredible and all the businesses want their windows painted by them. We’ve even made Huntington news twice over them painting.”

Perhaps the biggest impact they’ve made in recent years, when it comes to spreading Christmas joy, is the replacement of the annual Christmas tree that goes back to the 1970s. William McKinley had always decorated a prominent space in Lucasville with a large tree until it went out. According to Boldman, the tree was replaced, but the replacement didn’t last, and the space went dark for a few years.

“The community tree has always been a tradition that William McKinley started in the 70s. There were a lot of people who made sure we had trees decorated every year. School kids would always make decorations,” Boldman said. “For a small community, it is just a nice tradition that is great to see come back.”

GLO has now installed a tree two years in a row, each one a live tree that stands around 40-feet tall.

“Cutting down a 40-foot tree is an ordeal and we have a very good logger in our community who is very involved with us,” Boldman said. “He cuts the tree, Gahms has the crane to move them, and Arrick’s Propane has the big flatbed truck to haul it. It is just a real community effort to make it happen. It is just a good thing to have them in this community to make this happen.”

The tree has shifted how Christmas is celebrated in Lucasville. The parade route has been shifted to end at the tree. A new tree lighting ceremony has been held onsite, and now they’re planning a new event this Wednesday called A Journey Through Bethlehem.

“We’ve already had two events onsite and we want to do more, so we contacted some churches and they all readily agreed they wanted to be part of it,” Boldman said. “All four churches have costuming from previous plays and reenactments that they will be bringing so we will have people mingling through the crowd to create the atmosphere. People will be able to gather around the stable for Mary and Jesus, which will be near the tree area as well.”

The event is a live nativity, a kids corner for storytelling, an exotic petting zoo, and historical reenactment with costuming, thanks to four prominent Lucasville churches. The churches include Cross Church, Center Street Church, Lucasville Emmanuel Church, and the Community Bible Church.

A Journey Through Bethlehem will be held at the Lucasville Community Christmas Tree, on Route 23, between McKinley Funeral Home and the new Atomic Credit Union location. Admission is free and all are welcome. The event will be Wednesday, December 7th between 6 and 8 p.m.

Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved