It's not even Halloween yet, but the Christmas decorations are already going up in David City's downtown square.
Jill Mefford operates Images Salon and Spa downtown. She's excited that the Hallmark Channel is going to transform the downtown into Candy Cane Lane on October 30. "We've been under construction for three to four years, and I really feel our downtown has been hurting financially and spiritually," Mefford said. "Years ago there was a committee that did a lot of the downtown parade with Christmas."
The tradition of Christmas in downtown David City has faded a bit over the years. "We used to have a lot of participation by the merchants and the chamber," area resident Raymond Metzner said. "There was a big grand opening for kicking off the Christmas season." But now, thanks to Hallmark, the excitement is back.
"Just by coming here, Hallmark has sparked that and given us a gift financially and spiritually to get this going again," Mefford said.
Butler County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kelcie Keeling says the town was contacted by Hallmark after hearing about the closure of a large David City employer called Fargo Assembly. "They employ about 187 employees," Keeling said.
She says Hallmark felt the town needed some good will. And since David City is the birthplace of Joyce C. Hall, the founder of Hallmark, it was a simple decision. "He lived here until he was around 10 or 11 years old, and always remembered David City as his home," Keeling said. "The fact that Hallmark called, to me it was like a God send, it was like the perfect time. All of the downtown street construction is done. Everything is back open."
Hallmark has donated money to help David City get new decorations and put them up. Those decorations are even going on top of the Thorpe Opera House, thanks to the local fire department. Many businesses are getting into the spirit, including David City Discount Pharmacy, where you can see Christmas decorations on display. "It's really fun to see the whole community come together and get behind an event like this," pharmacist Anthony Hruska said.
At the flower and coffee shop called "Small Town Blooms by CK", there's hope that the celebration will bring more business. "We are really excited to see what it brings to the community," store owner Coren Pflum said. "Having other people come in and check out the small town will be good."
Chamber officials say come early on October 30 when Candy Cane Lane is unveiled. "There will be Christmas letter-writing stations for kids, there will be free food, you just name it will have it there," Keeling said.
There is the potential of up to 3,000 people coming for the celebration, and the work is underway right now to spruce up streets and sidewalks. Business owners like Jill Mefford hope the visitors will discover the Christmas spirit in David City. And she hopes this year's event can be replicated again next year by downtown business owners who are now inspired by Hallmark to keep the Christmas tradition in David City alive.