By Jef Rietsma
Vicksburg officials are declaring the inaugural Christmas Card Lane a success.
In the absence of a parade and other Christmas traditions the village had to put on hold this year, Christmas Card Lane proved to be a hit – and a solid backup option.
Alex Lee, Vicksburg’s Director of Community Engagement, said there’s no question in his mind that he witnessed the start of a new Vicksburg tradition.
“Now that people have seen Christmas Card Lane, they understand what it involves, how it’s presented and what it’s all about. We now have a long list of people and businesses who want to be a part of this in 2021,” Lee said.
Set up in the Vicksburg Historic Village, Christmas Card Lane featured 34 “cards” that, in most cases, are mounted on 4-by-8-foot sheets of plywood. Sponsors were able to share their name and a design on their card.
Christmas Card Lane started Dec. 5 and was to continue through the first weekend in January. The cards could be viewed at any time and were set up in a drive-thru format.
Lee was part of the village’s three-person Christmas Committee, whose members also featured John DeBault and Natasha Hanichen. Lee said the feedback he’s seen via the village’s Facebook page has been overwhelmingly positive.
“When we started, the plan was a piece of plywood, everybody paints it, and then we put it up,” Lee said. “Feedback we started getting was some people didn’t have the time or the talent to paint, and they were asking if there was a quicker way to do this.”
Lee found The Sign Company of Kalamazoo, which introduced him to an aluminum composite panel with a high-density corrugated core called Alumilite. Images can be applied to the surface, which retains color that does not run or fade.
The panels were secured by a pipe bracket to metal poles and illuminated by spotlights.
Lee said the project was a great partnership between the village and the Vicksburg Historical Society. He said Christmas Card Lane would not have been possible without the cooperation of the Historical Society.
“I liked how they would turn on the lights inside the old buildings … it was a nice touch that just added something to the experience,” Lee said.
He said the village will store the panels during the offseason, though a few companies have asked to have theirs back for year-round display.
Lee added that DPW officials placed a traffic counter at the entrance and the total number of cars that passed through will be tallied when the display is taken down.
With more card entries expected next year, Lee said there’s a chance the cards will have to be displayed on both sides of the drive rather than along the passenger’s side as they were this season.
“We couldn’t be happier … the reaction has been tremendous and we look forward to another strong lineup in next year’s display,” Lee said.
By Jef Rietsma