Christmas in the Park
Each year, Paducah Power System sponsors a magnificent display of Christmas lights in Paducah’s Noble Park. Christmas in the Park began in 1997 with Christmas lights donated by JF “Doc” Hicks and Jimmy Kinsey. Both men had displays at their homes for many years. Over the years, PPS has purchased many new displays and added several from corporate sponsors, and now, a half million twinkling bulbs illuminate the park between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day each holiday season. Thousands of people visit the event, making it a holiday favorite for people of all ages. In 2015, Paducah Sun readers voted it their favorite community holiday tradition.
During Christmas in the Park, PPS employees and community volunteers man the Santa House at the park, collecting donations of money and nonperishable food for area helping agencies. To date, Christmas in the Park has generated $575,146 and 757,050 pounds of food for local food pantries. In 2016, the event raised 66,893 pounds of food and $43,752. All donations from Christmas in the Park activities go to Paducah Cooperative Ministry, Family Service Society, the Salvation Army and St. Vincent DePaul Society.
In recent years, a significant portion of the proceeds have come from the annual Stuff the Truck drive involving Lourdes, Baptist Health Paducah and Wagner Moving and Storage and the School Challenge which involves local schools. During Stuff the Truck, employees at both hospitals and the general public work for two days to stuff a semi trailer full of canned and dry goods. The 2016 Stuff the Truck event raised 6,945 pounds of food.
During the annual School Challenge, schools in Paducah/McCracken County compete against each other by collecting canned goods. The school that collects the most pounds of food per student wins $1,000. As a whole, this year, the schools generated 34,590 pounds of canned goods for Christmas in the Park.
The 2016 School Challenge winners were:
Large School Champion-Concord Elementary
Large School Runner Up-Lone Oak Elementary
Small School Champion-Community Christian Academy Middle/High School
Small School Runner Up-St. Mary Middle/High School
The 2016 School Challenge participants were:
Community Christian Academy Middle/High
Lone Oak Elementary
Lone Oak Intermediate
Lone Oak Middle
McCracken County High
Paducah Middle School
St. Mary Middle/High
Reservations to work at the Santa House at the park are taken each year, starting on the Tuesday after Labor Day. We are fully booked for this season.
Other activities at Christmas in the Park include a lighted artwork created by the Paducah School of Art and Design and sculptor in residence Shane Ward and carriage rides by reservation by John’s Pass Carriage Company.