City workers hatch plan for holidays |

City workers hatch plan for holidays

Karl Horeis
Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal From left, city employees Deborah Wiggins, Judy Jackson and Caron Machado look at the first-place poster Wednesda created by Gabrielle Gallegos, a Carson high School art student. The poster constest was part of a program called Holiday in the Capital organized by the women and other volunteers. This Saturday they ave organized a Christmas tree decorating contest on the Legislative Grounds.

Imagine ice skaters spiraling around a rink next to the Carson City Community Center. Carolers could sing, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” while families warm up over steaming spiced cider.

That’s the dream of a group of women who work for the city.

Although the ice-skating rink proved too expensive this year, the volunteers have come up with ideas to increase holiday charm around town. A project called “Holiday in the Capital” will include a tree- decorating contest with carolers and a Santa visit, a store front-decorating contest and a commemorative poster made by a local art student.

“We just want to bring the Christmas spirit back to Carson City,” said volunteer Heather Mandel. She said she was inspired by a Home and Garden Television show about Nevada City, Calif.

“They close the main street, dress in period clothing, roast chestnuts – the whole bit,” she said. ‘Why not do something like that here?’ she figured.

“We want to make Carson City a cool place to be,” she said. “I don’t want to have drive to Nevada City.”

The assessor’s office employee suggested the idea to co-workers in city offices. They’ve been meeting regularly since January. The volunteers, Lynn Winters, Justine Chambers, Caron Machado, Judy Jackson, Deborah Wiggins and Mandel, narrowed a huge collection of ideas down to three.

The Christmas tree-decorating contest on Saturday at the Legislative lawn will include musical performances by the Allen Jones Ensemble and Judy Munson’s Holiday Volunteers. Santa will also make a visit.

The city volunteers, using a $1,500 grant from the Carson City Redevelopment Authority, bought 13 trees to be decorated. All those trees are claimed already by competitors, including the Carson City Children’s Museum, the Latch Key Kids, Boy Scout Troop 145, the Capital City Red Hatters, Lowe’s and private citizens Carolyn Finstra, Marjorie Butts and Linda Lang. Anyone else who wants to decorate a tree in the competition should call Deborah Wiggins at 887-2318, ext. 1401.

After the competition, the trees will be donated to needy families for their holiday celebration.

Dec. 20 will be a big day for Holiday in the Capital. The winner of the tree contest will be announced, as will the winners of the store front decorating contest.

Also on Dec. 20, the Sierra Nevada Ballet will do a live performance of “The Peanutcracker – The Story in a Nutchell.” This 45-minute version of “The Nutcracker” ballet was written by Rosina Bena especially for small children. It will be performed at 2 p.m. on the Legislative lawn.

The award-winning posters will be for sale there as well as in city buildings. Ms. Caston’s Carson High School art class created 150 posters from which 20 were selected for further judging. Ten went on to City Hall where judges viewed them and picked three winning posters. Gabrielle Gallegos took first place winning $100; Rebecca Fox took second and $75; Jolene Haspar took third winning $50.

One hundred copies of Gallegos’ poster will be made by Kinkos Copies and sold for $10 as a commemorative poster through Dec. 20. They’ll be sold at the Building Department and the Utilities Department. The profits will go to the Carson High School art program.

Volunteers who organized Holiday in the Capital got help from Paula Cannon of the Roberts House Museum.

“She’s given us good tips on what to do because none of us has ever done anything like this before,” said Wiggins.

They have learned a lot during the organizational process, she said.

She said Holiday in the Capital will grow in the future. “This little grass-roots effort, I think, is really going to build.”

For more information, go to

Contact Karl Horeis at or 881-1219.