By Danielle Akers
News Report Staff
Many businesses put up a tree and some Christmas lights to bring in the holiday season.
One business, Orchard Inn Tavern, took it up a notch.
And it was noticed.
The Orchard Inn Tavern was voted the winner in the Business Category of the Holiday Lights & Festive Sights Contest in Effingham.
When driving by at night at 800 North 3rd in Effingham, it’s hard to miss because it has a huge star that shines bright.
“Next year we are putting streamers next to it to give it something more,” said Marty Jansen, son of owner Jerry Jansen. “This is our first year decorating the outside and we noticed that not many businesses decorate.”
Just because they haven’t decorated the outside before doesn’t mean they haven’t decorated at all. For 30-plus years, Jerry has made it a point to decorate the inside.
“He wanted a place where people could go if they didn’t have a place of their own to go on Christmas,” said Nancy Roley, long-time employee and friend at Orchard Inn. “We always try to make it a home environment.”
On Christmas Day, regulars will walk in before or after their parties, so they will open and cook them food.
“We call ourselves an Orchard family,” Roley said.
Every year they try to add to their decorations. They added the sickle lights and the red, green, and gold LED lights on the outside of the building.
They want to set an example in Effingham so other businesses will get involved.
One thing they have that has been around since 1985 is the bright star.
“My dad had it made and enjoys it every year,” Jansen said. “He is the one that said we should decorate outside this year.”
Jerry had heard about the contest on the radio and decided to enter.
“Like anything else it’s starting to grow,” Roley said. “Everybody was outside decorating in the cold, but we had so much fun.”
“We have so many more ideas for next year,” Jansen said. “We look forward to doing it again next year.”
Orchard Inn won $250 in the contest and decided to match it and will now be donating $500 to Catholic Charities.
“We wanted to find an organization that distributes the money evenly,” Jansen said. “We know they help so many people.”