Merrysville lights up and parades its holiday spirit

Traditional water tower was dark, but that didn’t short-circuit festivities


Herald Writer

MARYSVILLE — Almost everything fell into place for the Merrysville Holidays celebration Saturday at Comeford Park. The electric light parade was there. The people were there. The Edsels played Christmas tunes. Even Santa showed up.

But when the Christmas lights were switched on, the historic water tower remained dark. Instead, a much shorter cypress tree glowed under the light of 4,000 tiny bulbs.

The age and deterioration of the water tower made it unsafe for crews to string lights on it this year, marking the first time in the festival’s 12-year history that the tower has been dark, said Marysville spokesman Doug Buell.

Supporters of saving the tower, a 1921 landmark visible from the freeway, have raised about $20,000, far short of the $55,000 the city says it needs to help bring the structure up to modern earthquake standards, Buell said.

"Pretty much the whole structural assessment of the water tower is it either needs serious upgrades or we need to take it down," Buell said.

Marysville resident Natialene Schopf, at her eighth festival, took the change in stride.

"I’m sad that the tower’s not lit, but the tree is beautiful," she said.

Other revelers seemed hardly to miss the tower lighting.

Adorned with reindeer ears, Sue Schaffer shimmied to the Edsels while waiting in line for a second cup of hot chocolate. Schaffer came all the way from Renton to attend the festival, along with friend Jean Woods of Lake Forest Park. They were oblivious to the water tower’s history.

"We just heard it was going to be a great party," Schaffer said.

Elsewhere in the park, some people warmed themselves around a bonfire. Many waited in a long line to meet Santa in a park gazebo. Others neared the park stage to hear the Edsels. A coffee truck did a brisk business.

Steve Spiger, a recent Marysville resident, said he was amazed to see that so many people showed up for the celebration. Enough folks were present to line both sides of State Avenue for the kickoff parade, in which a record 32 brightly lit floats participated.

"This reminds me of Mayberry," Spiger said. "I think it’s cool that people get together here to enjoy an evening like this. It reminds me of that small-town atmosphere that you just don’t see anymore."

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