PARDEEVILLE — Santa Claus called for help, and 10-year-old Valencia Laffin answered.
So did her dad, Joe, and her 12-year-old sister, Theodosia.
So did, as of noon Saturday, about a dozen others from the Pardeeville area, who put their gloved fingers to work stringing holiday lights on tree trunks, the baseball field’s fences and just about everywhere else in Chandler Park.
Phil Possehl couldn’t have been more pleased.
Possehl was, in 2014, one of the catalysts for the first effort to light up Chandler Park for the holidays — mostly with used lights and other decorations that residents donated, and which Possehl repaired in his home workshop.
Each subsequent holiday season, the display got bigger and brighter, and community organizations and businesses have gotten involved by contributing components to the free drive-through light show.
This year, however, community involvement was needed more than ever, prompting a plea on the Chandler Park Holiday Lights Facebook page:
“Santa needs your help!! His favorite reindeer (his St. Bernard, Teddy) had to have emergency surgery. … Mrs. Claus will need to stay home this weekend to keep an eye on her patient.” (The plea was illustrated with a photo of a St. Bernard wearing mock reindeer antlers.)
Valencia said she volunteered “because it’s nice, and because Dad signed me up.”
Joe Laffin, of Pardeeville, said the family drove through the park last holiday season, and were sufficiently impressed that they were moved to help put up this season’s display. That’s why Laffin and his daughters were wrapping lights around the trunk of a tree.
Those who showed up got a quick tutorial from Possehl, which included an explanation of why electric tape was wrapped around every junction where one string of lights was connected to another — to keep out moisture and lessen the likelihood of burnout.
Possehl said the decoration actually started last weekend, but “the weather was kind of nasty.”
Work will likely continue next weekend, to get the park ready for the display’s opening on Nov. 25, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
It’s an even bigger display than last year, Possehl said.
Several strings of new lights have been purchased, including more rope lights for the conifer-shaped display. Last year, the “light tree” was red; this year, white and blue lights will be added.
And, there are about 25 new lighted stars, most of which will be displayed along the baseball field’s fence line.
Santa will be at Shelter No. 3 — the largest shelter, near the park’s exit — from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, starting Nov. 25. However, Possehl said, Santa’s last appearance of the season will be on Saturday, Dec. 23.
“On Dec. 24,” he said, “Santa is busy.”
Valencia Laffin was already thinking about Santa and other features of the quickly approaching holiday season as she wrapped another string of lights around a tree.
“Hey,” she said to a departing friend, “aren’t you going to say ‘Merry Christmas’ to me?”