Mt. Pleasant to be aglow during the holidays
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
It’s nearly eight months down the road, but Mt. Pleasant will be aglow this holiday season.
That’s because the city will have a Festival of Lights at the Old Threshers campground to add to the spirit of the holiday season.
Terry McWilliams, Old Threshers public relations and marketing director, is excited about the buzz that the event will bring to Mt. Pleasant. “Any tourist event will bring more people to the community,” he said. “It should benefit the restaurants and there is all kinds of potential for other businesses.”
Old Threshers is contracting with North Pole Productions Company of Maryland for the show. North Pole also produces the Branson Area Festival of Lights in Branson, Mo.
“They have about seven or eight clients and have been in business for six or seven years,” McWilliams said, adding that Old Threshers also looked at a couple other companies who produce similar holiday light shows.
Mt. Pleasant’s Festival of Lights will be a drive-through tour of holiday displays, accompanied by music, at the 60-acre campground at Old Threshers. McWilliams said there will be between 80-100 pieces of light displays.
During its meeting last night, the Mt. Pleasant City Council approved contributions of $25,000 in 2013, $20,000 in 2014 and $15,000 in 2015 toward the show, which will cost Old Threshers slightly more than $100,000 annually.
The city contribution will come from its hotel and motel tax receipts. One-half of the city’s receipts from the hotel and motel tax must go to tourism projects.
“This is a real neat thing,” said City Administrator Brent Schleisman, referring to the Festival of Lights. “It is a new tourism event and one of those shows where you drive through the campground and see a beautiful light show during the holiday season. Hopefully, it will build momentum. I think this will be a great attraction to the community.”
Mayor Steve Brimhall agreed. “It is another thing to bring tourism to Mt. Pleasant and will be a fund-raiser for Old Threshers.”
Some of the funding for the festival is coming from private donations. “There are a number of community members who are really excited about this,” McWilliams noted. Thus far, Old Threshers has received about 80 percent of the required funding for the festival.
He said the campground is the perfect spot for the project because of all the electrical outlets. “With our facility, we can grow and add things each year. The company is very impressed with our facilities.”
Plans call for the drive-throughs and tours to begin the week prior to Thanksgiving and continue through New Year’s Eve. “We will probably do it on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights until the middle of December and then expand it to seven nights a week and end on New Year’s Eve,” McWilliams said. “People will have displays on both sides of them and probably on top of them as they drive through the park.”