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South Congaree hoping residents will get into the holiday spirit early to revive beautiful snowflake

South Congaree, SC (Paul Kirby) – Several decades ago, elected and community leaders in the town of South Congaree began seeing a new type of Christmas decoration displayed during the holiday season. Some were in Lexington County towns and communities while others were in areas they had visited. Over time, everyone thought that South Congaree might like the opportunity to dress up and get their own Christmas spirit in the form of beautifully decorated streets too!

More than 20-years ago, through a number of efforts, the money was pulled together to buy some large, beautiful, white snowflakes that were attached to the utility poles down Main Street. Eventually, 32 snowflakes were purchased and it proved that the leaders were correct; just something as simple as decorating the public streets did make the town, and the people in it, seem a more festive and cohesive community during the holidays.

Fast forward a few decades and South Congaree still owns the lights, but the new has worn off. Time, weather, the efforts of Chief Shumpert and his merry band of helpers who take the flakes and place them at the appropriate poles, and the handling of the utility crews that install them, have really taken their toll. Many of the snowflakes only work partially, and many just don’t work at all. Last year they were able to piece together 22 from the original 32, and this year it looked as if none would be in shape for installation.

Now, some of the same crowd who cared so much years ago, most of whom are members of the Blue Ridge Terrace Community Club, are being joined by a small group who’d like to see the twinkle back in the flakes and on the streets. Together, they are working to get the old and worn decorations revamped, and in some cases replaced. To replace them all would cost almost $30,000 but fixing them, well that might be possible.

Over the past months, the Blue Ridge Terrace Community Club met with a town employee to discuss repairing the snowflakes as a club project. After some quick figuring, town employees thought that the 22 snowflakes that were still working at all could be repaired with common household light sets for roughly $40.00 each. Some of the original 32 had been scavenged to keep as many as possible working. The $40 price tag was if just the lights were bad and not the frame or mounting hardware. After the community club took on the project, it was discovered that a special harness (cord) must be made for each snowflake to return the decorations to their original luster. They would also need a commercial grade of LED lights to withstand the elements and the test of time. Basically, to really fix the snowflake lights correctly, it's going to cost more that $6,500!

The last time the lights were used, only 22 lights were able to be pieced together. According to town officials, none of the lights are currently in a condition that they could be used for the 2018 season.

Already, The Blue Ridge Terrace Community Club collected $900.00 to repair 22 light sets based on the wrong information that was accidentally given. They were certainly excited, but disheartened to find that they were working from information that was incorrect. Although everyone would love to see all 32 snowflakes hanging in 2108, the minimum number of working flakes needed for this Christmas season is 22.

Since discovering the mistake, an additional $875.00 has been donated for this project by the community. Now, the town is asking if you can find a little early Christmas spirit in your heart and chip in a little something too? You can donate as little or as much as you can; no amount is too small! If everyone would just help a little, this could be a great SNOWFLAKE CHRISTMAS for South Congaree.

For more information about the SNOWFLAKE Renewal project, contact Connie Lambert with the Blue Ridge Terrace Garden Club. She can be reached at lambertconnie72@gmail.com. The deadline to have the money for the light repairs for the 2018 sason is November 1. Checks for donations can be made payable to the Town of South Congaree – Snowflake Fund and mailed or dropped off to 116 W. Berry Road, West Columbia, SC 29172. For additional information, call the town hall at (803) 755-2760 and go to ext. 101.

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