Will COVID cancel Christmas? Nope, uh-uh, not happening, according to French Creek Foundation President Clint Gault.

For 10 years, he has played a key role in helping Avon kick off the holiday season with a festival and tree-lighting ceremony. This year, he and volunteers realized they would have to devise something different that was safe for families to do.

“While we will greatly miss heading up the Avon Christmas tree-lighting event, the show must go on,” he said. “Efforts now focus on ‘Light Up the Holidays.’”

The French Creek Foundation is asking property owners on Detroit Road from Jaycox Road to Colorado Avenue to put up lights and install holiday displays to create a festive and fun atmosphere. They will remain lit until the end of December, allowing residents to take in the 2-mile stretch. “Hopefully, it will bring a little cheer when it is needed,” he said.

Gault believes in leading by example, so he, his four children, and his colleagues at Wealth Health LLC, along with some of their children, showed up to the office on Nov. 14, to decorate. Gault said the kids added a lot of cheer and happiness to the process, aided by all the doughnuts he provided.

He also had high praise for Joe Bell, a member of Avon Boy Scout Troop 333. Bell created three gingerbread people from plywood and then painted them. They sit near the driveway at Gault's firm at 35651 Detroit Road.

“He is a very talented young man,” Gault said.

Members of the troop will also fill concrete planters along the length of Detroit with Christmas greens and ornaments.

Pastor Austin Shaw and members of Providence Church at 35295 Detroit were eager to participate.

“We love Avon as a church, and as a family. We want to do more with the city and be great citizens of Avon,” said Shaw, who has been pastor for just over a year.

Jeremy Damstra and Pete Stacey from the church's Men's Ministry, with help from staff member Joe Ciresi, wound lines of white lights around trunks and stretched them across branches of trees at the front of the property.

“It's a special time of year and we believe it is a time of great news. We want to capture that spirit and be a source of positivity in Avon,” Shaw said.

The foundation partnered with the City of Avon, Avon schools and the Avon Garden Club on this project.

Mayor Bryan Jensen said he was pleased with the idea for Light up the Holidays.

“As disappointed as we are that we cannot have our annual Christmas tree lighting, we are very grateful that FCF has worked hard to get the public areas throughout the French Creek District decorated for the holidays,” he said.`

Contact freelance writer Michele Murphy at avonlakemurphy@gmail.com.

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