Getting into the holiday spirit with Rusk tree-lighting, parade Dec. 1

by Jo Anne Embleton

Rusk will launch its holliest, jolliest event of 2020 with the lighting of an oversize Christmas tree and the annual holiday parade, Tuesday on the downtown square.

The inaugural lighting ceremony – featuring a 26-foot tree that is a gift to the city from the James Perkins Family – begins at 5:30 p.m. The tree is located between J&J Jewelry and Salon Grace on Main Street.

The Chrismas parade, bearing the theme “Lights! Santa! Action!,” follows at 6 p.m., with Mayor Angela Raiborn serving as Grand Marshal. The parade will be streamed via Facebook Live on the Chamber’s page for those that are not not able to attend in person.

This year, Chamber members invited the community to submit their suggestions for the parade's Grand Marshal.

“(We) wanted to do something different when it came to selecting the Grand Marshal for the annual parade – we wanted to hear from the community,” said Chamber manager Josie Fox. “There are so many individuals within Rusk who give back to the town they love and the community they serve/live in.”

Numerous suggestions flooded the Chamber office, and on Nov. 24 – once all essays were reviewed and, Fox said, “including some amazing people” – Raiborn was selected.

An anonymous essayist submitting the winning form:

“When I saw there was going to be an essay contest to select this year’s parade Grand Marshal, I was very excited. As a citizen, it made me feel good to know that my local Chamber of Commerce valued my opinion and I could not wait to put pen to paper. Of course, then came the hard task of who to select as there are so many individuals in Rusk that love the city and people in it.

“After a couple of days of deliberation, a light bulb went off and I knew exactly who I wanted to nominate to be Grand Marshal, our mayor, Angela Raiborn. Mayor Raiborn has so much love for Rusk and the people in it and she truly leads this town with a servant’s heart. Rarely do you see her when she doesn’t have a smile on her face or a kind word to offer.

“Things have been rough over the past few years, but through it all she has led this town with dignity and grace. For these reasons, and many more, I ask that you consider my nomination and select Mayor Angela Raiborn to lead the town she loves so dearly through the holiday season.”

Meanwhile, Fox said event T-shirts, emblazoned with “Lights! Santa! Action! Hometown Christmas Experience Rusk – 2020) remain available for purchase, ranging from $15 youth sizes up to adult-size shirts ($20 for sizes S to XL, $25 for size 2XL) for $25 to purchase a shirt, contact the Chamber, to pre-order. Shirts will also be available at the event.