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December 22, 2013

Woman’s Club, county commission put new Christmas spin on courthouse

FAIRMONT — Out with the old and in with the new.

Residents may notice a new seasonal touch to the Marion County Courthouse this holiday season.

Nancy Bickerstaff, president of the GFWC Woman’s Club of Fairmont, said the woman’s club teamed up with the Marion County Commission to put a new spin on the courthouse this year.

“The courthouse is just historically beautiful and a wonderful landmark,” she said. “We’re just really tickled to light up the courthouse.”

In 1990, Bickerstaff said all new decorations were purchased for the courthouse and downtown Fairmont area. She said since then there hadn’t been much of a change until now.

Some include animated decorations.

“We have an animated Santa Claus and reindeer on Jackson Street,” Bickerstaff said.

Bickerstaff said Butch Phillips helped get new lights and decorations.

“He ordered all new stuff for us,” she said.

One of the non-traditional decorations that can be seen at the courthouse includes a Santa Claus water skiing. Other new decorations include replacing white lights outside the courthouse with red and green lights.

The live pine tree that sits outside the courthouse was decorated as well. Bickerstaff said there are more than 400 lights on the tree.

Bickerstaff said all the lights that were purchased were LED lights, which helps save some energy.

Bickerstaff said several county maintenance workers worked hard to put up the decorations. Those maintenance workers were Jeff Biafore, Rob Holmes and Bill Wilkerson.

“They were so excited to do that, and they did an excellent job,” Bickerstaff said.

The decorations that have stayed the same are the more simple ones. Bickerstaff said every year each window of the courthouse holds a white, electronic candle.

“When we did the decorations in 1990, they were more Victorian,” she said. “This year we kind of brightened it up with the colorful lights.”

Colorful lights aren’t the only thing the Woman’s Club has gotten its hands on. The club also worked to get a new sign up at Morris Park. Bickerstaff said the old sign needed to be replaced.

“There was a sign that was made out of treated lumber that had fallen into disrepair,” she said. “If you have a destination, you need a sign.”

Operation Image worked to design the entrance of Morris Park, which includes the stone walls and a flag pole. Bickerstaff said Mt. Zion Nursery donated shrubs for the entrance too.

“That was one part of our plan. The second part was the sign,” she said.

Bickerstaff said the Woman’s Club worked with the City of Fairmont, which purchased the sign; the Fairmont Public Works Department, which installed it; and J.D. Signs, which designed the sign.

“The city then chose the design they wanted, and now it’s up,” she said.

The sign was put up in the beginning of December, just in time for the Celebration of Lights.

Email Emily Gallagher at or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.

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