By Herb Meeker
News Report Staff
A Christmas ornament has come to town that’s like no other ornament displayed in this community.
On Saturday, the Coeur De Noel lighted Christmas ornament will come to the heart of Effingham for the Hometown Christmas celebration on the old courthouse square.
It makes sense. The huge ornament -- called “The Heart of Christmas” -- will be in the home of the Hearts. And its beauty will melt some hearts, both young and old.
“You can literally walk through it and the kids can touch the inside of it,” said Effingham Tourism Director Jodi Thoele of the Christmas decoration being added to an already impressive array of lights and icons in downtown Effingham.
The 3-D interactive decoration, with glittering lights and frosted glass, stands 14.4 feet tall and wide and stretches across 15.5 feet. The plan is to place the Heart of Christmas ornament astride a sidewalk on the perimeter of the square where the Effingham County Cultural Center and History Museum is located in the former courthouse building.
“We’re arranging for the best location. We hope it can be placed over a sidewalk so it is easier for people to walk through it,” Thoele said. “We want it to be a great photo opportunity for visitors. We know the kids are going to love it.”
City officials might try arranging an online photographic contest relating to the popularity of the ornament.
The effort that brought this special Christmas decoration to Effingham started about two years ago when Effingham City Administrator Jim Arndt traveled to a governmental conference and he visited the booth of the company, Artistic Holiday Design of Chicago, associated with the Coeur De Noel and other eye-popping decorations for municipalities.
“It was two years in the making to bring it here. We had it included in the city budget, too. We thought it would be a great addition to the downtown at Christmas. It is also a good reminder to people downtown on Saturday to visit Wonderland in Lights at Community Park,” Thoele said. (See related story on Wonderland in Lights.)
City workers are arranging for the ornament display for Saturday. It involves a lot of planning, but fortunately, they won’t have to worry about hanging it from a Christmas tree.