June 30, 2016

Partly cloudy

Medina County Fair Board inherits resident’s holiday lights

Volunteer Kristen Frantz affixes lights to a display at the Medina County Fairgrounds on Friday afternoon. She laughed as she fought against the wind to get the display ready for the Holiday Lights Drive Thru, which opened Friday night. (LOREN GENSON / GAZETTE)

MEDINA — The Holiday Lights Drive Thru at the Medina County Fairgrounds is back this year for the 11th season and includes some lights from a city resident’s popular East Smith Road display.

New this year are a gingerbread village and a few moving-lights displays, said Barb Nixon, a volunteer who organizes the lights each year.

Nixon said Don Brandow, who died last summer following a battle with cancer, donated his lights and decorations to the Medina County Fair Board to use to enhance its growing light display.

“His wife gave us all his decorations and it was wonderful for them to think of us,” Nixon said.

In a 2006 Gazette story, Brandow said it took him two weeks to cover his front yard in the 900 block of East Smith Road with 20,000 bulbs and inflatables.

The drive-through show, which organizers said is the biggest in the region with more than 80 displays, allows visitors to stay warm in their cars as they drive around the displays on the fairgrounds.

“We saw what Mansfield had, and ours is about as big,” said Nixon, who was one of the three original volunteers who started the show.

Fair Board members volunteered to put the light show on, and all the proceeds benefit the Medina County Fair Board. Nixon said the proceeds go to maintenance and upkeep on the fair buildings.

In addition to community decoration donations, the board also sells sponsorships — businesses get their name in a program handed out to each car that visits, and get space to put up a holiday display along the course. Local 4-H groups and church groups also help decorate.

“Most of our displays are handmade,” Nixon said. “They’re painted or created and then covered with lights.”

Fair board member Jim Martin helps to craft wire displays and add lights to them. Often, Nixon said, larger displays with broken lights can be donated to the fair board and repaired.

“He can actually fix those kinds of displays; get them working again,” she said.

Anyone who would like to make a donation to the light display can call the fair board at (330) 723-9633.

WHAT: Holiday Lights Drive Thru
WHERE: Medina County Fairgrounds, 710 W. Smith Road, Medina. Entrance is at the Smith Road parking lot.
WHEN: 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday until Dec. 30. Special weeknight openings 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 17 to 20 and Dec. 24 to 27.
COST: $7 per car, $12 for passenger vans up to 15 people, $50 for buses.
INFO: www.medina-fair.com.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.