Cub Scouts help Belpre volunteers assemble holiday displays

BELPRE – Local Cub Scouts helped a group of Belpre volunteers put together a holiday lights display for the Belpre Holiday Lights Festival.

Members of Pack 12 of Stout Memorial United Methodist Church in Parkersburg gathered Thursday evening at the Holiday Lights garage in Belpre to help put together a lighting display in the design of the Cub Scouts emblem.

Assistant Pack Leader Kevin Grose said the project was a carryover from a summertime day camp program at Civitan Park. Several of the boys did not get a chance to participate in the community service project during the day camp because of rain so they came back to help put a lighting display together to honor the Cub Scouts.

The Scouts participating were ages 7-10. Many laid lighting over the steel-welded design and secured the lighting on the frame with plastic ties.

”In doing this project, the boys are giving back to the community,” Grose said. ”The city was gracious enough to let us use the park. What we wanted to do is give back and we helped put this together and give back to the city by having a display.”

The boys said they were having a good time and parents marveled at the workshop where the lighting displays are assembled.

Joe Keesey, one of the volunteers who works on putting the displays together, said the yearly project is a lot of work but many people enjoy it.

”We have more displays than ever,” he said. ”There are 68 new ones this year and we will be revamping many of the old ones. I think we will have 160 displays set up around the parks.”

A group of retired individuals gathers every week at a workshop to work on new displays, repair old ones and, when the holiday season rolls around, puts the displays up at Howes Grove Park and Civitan Park in Belpre.

Throughout the year the group usually gathers every Saturday and works from 9 a.m. to noon or so in the garage behind the Belpre City Building. Starting in early October, those involved with the group are in the garage almost on a daily basis when the displays start to go up in the parks.

Keesey was an engineer for DuPont for more than 30 years and lived in this area all that time. Many of the volunteers had worked at DuPont, but others came from other fields and companies with a wide array of knowledge and skills.

Every one of the displays has to be brought out and tested. Repairs are conducted, new lights are put on and more work is done.

New displays are being put together with a variety of work that needs to be done.

”We can always use more volunteers,” Keesey said. Many of the volunteers are over 70 years old.

”We could use some fresh blood,” he said.

Keesey said they are looking forward to having another great holiday season.

”We will start six weeks before (Thanksgiving) working through the weeks whenever the people are available and the weather is good,” he said. ”Everything goes live Thanksgiving.”

Displays will be up until after the start of the new year and the volunteers take them down as time allows. Volunteers will then begin work on next year’s displays.

”Every one of our displays is one-of-a-kind and custom made,” Keesey said.

People interested in volunteering can come to the workshop, behind the Belpre City Building, at 9 a.m. every Saturday.