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Bright Lights, Small City: Merry Mile Offers Holiday Cheer for More Than 2,000 People

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Bright Lights, Small City: Merry Mile Offers Holiday Cheer for More Than 2,000 People


The Calhoun County Agricultural and Industrial Society – otherwise known as the Calhoun County Fairgrounds – has hosted the Merry Mile since 2016. 

With the goal of creating a revenue-generating annual event, volunteers solicited support from local organizations like the Marshall Community Foundation. “Initially, the Foundation’s Executive Committee liked that this was a new program for our community, and a nice complement to the decorations Marshall already has downtown during the Holidays,” said Shannon Tiernan, Marshall Community Foundation executive director. “Data the fairgrounds shared with us after that first year was positive, so the Committee was willing to support the initiative again with the goal of future sustainability for the organization.”

Jen Rice, Calhoun County Fair director, recently reported that more than 1,950 vehicles drove through the Merry Mile during its 2018 season. “With the proceeds generated through the gate combined with the generosity of our sponsors, we paid off all debts associated with this event and netted $14,000,” she said. “We still have several large displays we received from Battle Creek that were in need of repair and were not included in this year’s display. So stay tuned for even more variety next year!”

The 2019 Merry Mile will kick off the weekend before Thanksgiving and conclude Dec. 30. Rice said the Fairgrounds has already booked a wedding to be held in the midst of the lights. The bride and groom will conclude their ceremony with a horse and carriage ride through the display. 

Programs such as this are made possible, in part, due to the Marshall Community Foundation’s Fund for Marshall and Marshall Youth Fund. To learn more about these funds – or to make a donation in support of our community-wide impact - contact the Foundation at (269) 781-2273 or via email at info@marshallcf.org.


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