Residents advocate for town’s first holiday festival
It all started with a question on Facebook — Why does Haughton not have a Christmas festival or Christmas parade?
“It was a spur of the moment thought to post it,” Tarrah Dobbins said, thinking back to the day she made that post in October. “I’ve lived here all my life and always wondered why we didn’t have anything.”
Turns out she wasn’t the only one who thought about that. Within 24 hours, Dobbins had more than 60 comments on her post.
“I didn’t expect that kind of reaction,” she said. “My jaw dropped after seeing that many comments.”
The post was proof that a holiday event would not only draw interest, but also support from the community. That’s how the movement to start a Christmas parade and festival in Haughton began.
“No doubt I love the fire trucks that come around to the neighborhoods. That’s unique and something i’ve never seen before,” Dobbins wrote on her Facebook post. “I would just like something that would bring the whole community (and adjacent communities) together in one area.”
Dobbins knew the first step would be getting approval from the Town of Haughton. It was on the Haughton town council’s meeting agenda Monday night. Information from that meeting was not available by press time Monday afternoon.
The Haughton town council will have its regular session meeting Tuesday, Nov. 15. Dobbins has done her research and is prepared to make her case.
“We could start with just a parade this year and grow it into something bigger over the years,” she said. “It’s going to take a lot of planning for the festival. I want something that everyone can enjoy right here in our hometown.”
She’s even thought about a possible date and a parade route.
“December 17…there’s nothing else going on that day. I’ve already checked,” Dobbins said. “There’s a mile and a half route that would increase foot traffic into our local business and generate revenue for our community. I’ve looked at possible routes and driven them. I want to keep it in the heart of Haughton.”
Seeing Santa on the firetruck would still be a holiday tradition in Haughton, Dobbins said, but it would become part of the parade.
Thinking ahead, Dobbins said a parade and festival could put a spotlight on the town during the holiday season.
“We can drive 20 minutes to Benton, and hour to Grand Cane or two hours to Zwolle,” she said. “Why not bring that traffic here to our town?”
Dobbins plans to be at the Nov. 15 meeting. She hopes the town council will give her the three letter word she’s looking for.
“I hope they approve it. I’m sure going to fight for it and I’ve got a lot of people on my side,” she said. “I want this. Whether it’s this year or next year, I want my kids to grow up with something special like this. If they say no, we’ll come back stronger next year. We will find a way to make this happen.”