Even as the last days of sun warm our Hoosier families, thoughts begin to turn toward the coming winter. Merchants, eager to edge out the competition, have already begun squawking about the impending season. And now, it seems, shopping begins not with turkeys but with pumpkins. Soon, the office extrovert will commence the annual bragging that they have already completed their Christmas list. And, local restaurants will urge us to book our gatherings soon, lest the rooms be sold out.
Forgive this column’s intrusion into an already crowded field of gate jumpers, too eager to skip this lovely season in anticipation of the next, but one holiday tradition stands to be revived and renewed just this year. Thanks to the remarkable generosity of John Deere farm and lawn implement impresario Gary Reynolds and his bride, Cindy, the decades-long run (beginning in 1955, reflecting the love of the season with Gary’s parents Mac and Arline) held at the company’s former headquarters at Ind. 37 and I-465 will be continued with a new partnership and locale. Conner Prairie living history museum will now host the elaborate displays as a part of its new “A Merry Prairie Holiday,” running from Nov. 29 to Dec. 29.
Reynolds and his family are well-recognized for their support of our communities, and this gift is no exception. Much planning and consideration has been given on how to best preserve the celebration, attract visitors to enjoy a new time-of-year favorite at Conner Prairie while not burdening the nonprofit with the considerable effort of hosting the spectacular. As we struggle to take in the lights, now counting north of 1 million, we are able to make food donations along the way. This year, a familiar beacon — new to Conner Prairie — will light the season and we’ll be there to see it.