This year's SBPS - Marshall Christmas cards are in the office and (slowly) going out. This year's feature an original watercolor painting by Carol Pace "Thirty Years of Wonder", which commemorates the 30th anniversary of Marshall's Wonderland of Lights festival with a scene of ice skaters on the rink next to the historic old county courthouse.
The card reminds me of the first time someone proposed building an ice rink on the square in Marshall. It was the late 1990's, I believe, and I was a city commissioner in, I think, my second term. At the time Marshall Festivals, Inc, was operating the Wonderland festival, and wanted to install a seasonal ice rink on the brick parking space next to the courthouse, but didn't have the money, so the City of Marshall lent it the funds (one of the more bizarre votes I remember while I was in office). Since then the city has taken over operating the festival directly, and has funded the necessary expenses for the rink. Many Texas cities operate golf courses or swimming pools - ours has a skating rink as well. (Did I mention it'll be 75 F on Christmas Day this year? Always a challenge keeping the rink in operation in warm weather).
The rink has been sponsored by the local Ford Lincoln Mercury dealership for the last few years, and before that Samsung had it for a couple of seasons, which has recently led to the tall tale that Samsung built and paid for it, apparently by people who can't imagine that an East Texas town would already have an outdoor ice skating rink, thank you very much. Nope - we actually have had it for many years as part of our Wonderland of Lights festival, and it is a favorite of families with kids during the Wonderland season.
It's good to have it on one of our cards finally.