JOYCE — Joyce residents will gather at 6 tonight for the community Christmas tree lighting and selection of the town Grinch.
The tree lighting will be at 50470 state Highway 112, between Blackberry Cafe and Joyce Bible Church, with Joyce resident John Singhose serving as master of ceremonies.
This year’s tree — which was donated for the occasion — is a little over 40 feet tall and will be covered with about 2,500 lights.
As soon as the lights are on, Santa is expected to arrive in a Joyce Fire Department truck, said Greg Reynolds, pastor of Joyce Bible Church and a Joyce community member who works on the holiday celebration annually.
After the tree lighting, free homemade soups, bread and pies prepared by members of the area churches, fire department, Crescent Grange and Rotary Club will be offered in the Joyce Bible Church gym.
Local entertainment is planned by Crescent School students and members of the fire department, Reynolds said.
The 2016 Joyce Grinch will be crowned.
The Joyce Grinch is selected by locals voting, 1 penny per vote, with voting canisters located in such local businesses as the Joyce General Store, Blackberry Cafe and Family Kitchen.
Money collected from votes will be used this year to purchase food for the Crescent community Christmas baskets given to local people who could use a little help, Reynolds said.
“Some good-natured competition has resulted in these pennies usually adding up to over $1,000,” Reynolds said.
On Saturday, the Crescent Grange at 50870 state Highway 112 will host its annual Joyce to the World celebration from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Admission is free and the public is welcome. Children will be able to make Christmas crafts and hayrides are planned, said Singhose, one of the organizers. Home-baked cookies, hot chocolate and coffee will be served, he added.
Visitors can buy raffle tickets for baskets. The drawing will be at the grange’s Christmas program Dec. 19.
Proceeds will go to the local preschool, Singhose said.
Santa will not attend this year. “He got another job,” Singhose said.
Joyce Bible Church will host its annual Christmas event, The Greatest Gift, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Ten decorated Christmas trees will be auctioned.
Six undecorated trees also will be for sale.
Christmas gifts that have been made from all over the world can be purchased.
Live entertainment will be on stage. Homemade baked goods will be for sale, and the Blackberry Cafe will provide food, Reynolds said.
Several gift baskets will be auctioned as well, he said.
Profits from this year’s event will purchase clean water and farm animals through the Samaritan Purse organizations, which help people in need all over the world, he said.
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