PRESTONSBURG – The City of Prestonsburg and workers in its parks and recreations department work diligently to transform Archer Park into a winter wonderland each year. Richie Schoolcraft, park director, works daily with his staff to transform the park into a twinkling light show with over one million lights.
The staff begin transforming the park in early-October of each year. Schoolcraft, along with Felisha Bradford, Bill Justice, Richard Compton, Freddy Collins, Mark Caudill, Danny Layne, Kevin Gayheart, Chris Stephens, Jimmy Stacy, Beth Walker, Jazmyn Hall, Megan Goble, Pat Goble and Bob Moore take care of Archer Park as well as the city parks at StoneCrest.
This year, the city plans to turn the on the lights and open carnival rides during Thanksgiving weekend.
“Last year was a big success,” said Schoolcraft. “We had over 44,000 cars drive through the park to take advantage of the light show. We will have a donation mailbox set up at the end of the tennis court again this year. However, driving through the park and seeing the lights is free to the public.”
Sleigh rides will also begin Thanksgiving weekend. The rides will be available every Friday and Saturday night at the cost of $2 per person.
Every year, park staff add to the displays. New for this year are Santa and his elves running up the chimney on top of the caboose, and the tunnel of lights bridge going over to the memorial side of the park. Schoolcraft confirmed that additional displays are still to come.
“A display as large as the one at Archer Park typically cost $10 or more in most cities,” said Shelia Stevens, of Melvin. “It is nice to be able to treat the kids to a fun night of driving through the park and getting ready for Christmas, especially at a time of year when money is tight.”
Christmas in the Park sponsored by the Prestonsburg Women’s Club is scheduled for December 8 and will be held in the skating ring. The New Year’s Eve city star rising is also scheduled.
For more information about Archer Park, call 606-886-6390. Office hours at Archer Park are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.