The annual “All Is Bright” Christmas celebration in downtown Plaquemine will continue this year, thanks to a grass roots effort of local businesses and some careful planning by Mayor Edwin “Ed” Reeves Jr.
The Yuletide festival will be held Sunday, Dec. 12 from 4 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. along Railroad Avenue and Main Street.
The celebration will roll into gear despite the city cancelling the event due to budgetary constraints. The city was faced with a double whammy in its 2021-2022 budget, which began in November.
Health insurance premiums for city workers skyrocketed, and cost of parts, supplies and equipment to run the city had jumped by double to quadruple in the last year due to the pandemic. Those huge increases forced the city to make numerous budget cuts to avoid a severe deficit.
“There will be a Christmas, and Edward Earl Comeaux and a group of volunteers saved the day on that one,” Reeves said. “Edward Earl, Jude Barker, and my son, Chris, were instrumental in getting this thing together.”
Comeaux said he met with Reeves to work on a plan to keep the holiday tradition intact, even amid the tight city budget.
“We wanted to help the city keep the tradition intact,” Comeaux said. “Mayor Reeves agreed. He was taking heat for the cancellation, but he was very upset about having to cancelling it too. It’s tough to make those calls when city funds are so tight. I got with Jude and Chris, and we all pledged funds. Then I got with Rhonda Harrell with We Are the Difference, and she agreed to handle the vendors and setup. The Plaquemine Main Street Program joined in to assist with vendors, and other businesses have put up donations to help fund it.”
The event will feature a ferris wheel and train for kids, along with bouncy houses and a face painter, a decorated fire truck and train, music and a Christmas movie on a big screen.
The festival will also include more than 60 vendors selling arts, crafts, jewelry and a variety of foods. And, of course, Santa Claus will make a special visit.
Mayor Reeves and Comeaux planned the festival on a Sunday evening so that city workers could handle cleanup on Monday and not incur overtime.
Meanwhile, the event sponsors met with Police Chief Kenny Payne and agreed to provide $600 for overtime pay for police officers to work the event. The sponsors are also funding all the rides and activities for children and other costs of the event.
Comeaux Brothers Construction, Barker Brothers Plumbing, Edward Jones-Chris Reeves, All Star Inflatables, Just Johns, Riverside Specialty Meats, Dynamic Therapy, Wayne Miller and Iberville Clerk of Court Amy Patin are among the event sponsors.
“It’s wonderful to see the community really pull together to provide some holiday cheer,” said Mayor Reeves. “I hope everyone comes out and enjoys it.”