EAST END, Ark. – It’s called the most wonderful time of the year, but not everyone is in the holiday spirit. An East End Christmas display was vandalized when thieves stole electrical equipment from a park. Now, lights and decorations are left dark awaiting a Christmas miracle.
With Thanksgiving checked off the list, Arkansans are preparing for the most magical time of the year – complete with light displays and a field of decorations. At “The Crossing at Angel Court”, groups and families are able to add their own touch to a massive display of good cheer. “Each one of these displays is put up by a different individual,” said Julie Mayberry, director of The Crossing.
One such family was the Wooldridge’s, whose decorations also act as a memorial to their daughter who passed away last year. “She was 16,” said mom Natilie Wooldridge, “and had Spina Bifida and seizure disorder.” Emma loved the accessible park and Christmas lights, a memory the family wants to keep alive. “What we wanted to do in memory of Emma was set up a family display,” Wooldridge said.
But grinches decided to ruin the East End festivities when thieves stole into the park on Thanksgiving and carried away vital equipment. “We were adding to our family display,” Wooldridge explained when she discovered the theft. “I went to plug them in, and the cord was gone.” Wooldridge estimates up to 20 cords were stolen, including timers and spotlights. Now, it’s unclear if the magical display will light up as it should.
“It’s gut wrenching.” Mayberry says the park is run and funded by volunteers. Now, organizers will have to dip into backup funds to make sure Christmas isn’t canceled. “We’re going to have to use that money to buy the extension cords that we already had,” she said. She adds that with or without the twinkling display, guests are still welcome to share in the holiday spirit and help out, if they can. “We will still do it, we’re going to get those power cords, we’re going to have lights on.”
Mayberry says there are plans to get cameras for the park, another unexpected cost this holiday season. If you would like to support the park and Christmas display, they need extension cords and timers. You can donate and learn more here at The Crossing’s website.