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Beautification committee spreads holiday cheer with lights, banners and other festive décor

Heather Hoeft, Sue Eckes and Harriet Mattfeld, left to right, are a few of the roughly 10 members of the Perham Beautification Committee. Elizabeth Huwe/FOCUS1 / 3
Members of the Perham Lions spent eight hours decorating the Christmas tree in NP Park, next to the post office, before the Parade of Lights this year. Submitted photo2 / 3
Snowflakes, banners and lights in the trees downtown are all provided through the beautification committee. Elizabeth Huwe/FOCUS3 / 3

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Perham.

Snow is on the ground, ice has covered the lakes and the decorations are up along the city’s streets.

While they can’t take the credit for snow and ice, the Perham Beautification Committee is behind the holiday lights, banners and other man-made creations that make the town look festive.

“The beginning of the group really was to raise money so we could improve the street-scape of Perham,” said Sue Eckes, a beautification committee member, of why the group was initially created.

The committee is the fundraising and decision-making group for most of the city’s street-side decorations.

In the summer, they coordinate with greenhouses and local gardening groups to put planters of flowers along the streets.

But the committee really gets hot when the weather starts to turn chilly,

The group plans out the holiday decorations for downtown, Third Avenue, and the southside shopping areas every year, and it purchases snowflakes and banners for light poles, and lights for many of the trees downtown.

Community members, business owners and the city come together to serve on the committee, gathering a broad variety of opinions.

After the decorating plans are made, city workers will do most of the setup work.

Christmas decorations start going up the week before Thanksgiving, said city manager and committee member Kelcey Klemm. That way, everything gets done before Perham’s annual Parade of Lights.

“NP Park is decorated by our Christmas tree growers – Cupkie’s and Santa’s,” said Eckes. “They each provide a tree, every other year.”

Members of the Perham Lions then decorate the tree with their own lights and ornaments.

In the southside shopping area, the committee pays for half of the snowflakes, while private businesses pay for the other half and their own electricity.

Overall, said Eckes, keeping Perham beautiful takes a corps of people, both volunteers and supporters.

“The beautification cards have been instrumental in getting a lot of this stuff going,” said Eckes.

These $10 coupon cards can be purchased by the public in April, and are good for discounts at local businesses for one year. Proceeds from the cards go to the beautification committee.

“So, everybody who has bought a card has helped the whole process of this,” said Eckes. “The Beautification Committee can’t thank people enough for buying those cards.”

Looking around at the lighted snowflakes and snowman banners hanging up and down Main Street, she added, “This is your dollars at work.”

To volunteer with the beautification committee, call Sue Eckes at 346-6370.