JODY NORWOOD | The Sun
Mrs. Claus waves to those along the parade route Saturday at the annual Christmas parade in Benton. Mayor Steve Cary said turnout appeared to be triple from 2011.
Blake Strader, Brady Ross and Kyle Hall of Boy Scout Troop 484 from Benton help label care packages for the Hugs Project of Western Kentucky. The nonprofit organization is seeking monetary donations to ship the holiday packages to service members overseas by Wednesday.
Hugs Project seeks donations
U.S. Air Force security forces member Matthew Bratthauar often looked forward to sitting down and enjoying a taste of home.
Bratthauar, who was on active duty for six years, received several care packages from the Hugs Project of Western Kentucky during his deployment.
But a drop in donations to the project this year may mean that fewer service members receive care packages in time for Christmas, according to Hugs Project president Gayron Ferguson. Ferguson said the organization has already sent 395 Christmas care packages to the troops, but is struggling to raise the funds to ship the remaining 410 boxes.
The boxes, which contain magazines, hygiene necessities, snacks, and handwritten thank-you cards, cost $11 each to ship.
Benton goes back in time
for Christmas celebration
Held in an alley off Main Street, the annual Dickens Christmas in Benton featured a dozen volunteers dressed as characters from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
Several hundred people attended the event, which included roasted pig, drinks and other food free of charge.
Mayor Steve Cary, donning a top hat and wool coat, said this year’s event was possibly three times larger than the year before.
The night started with a lighted Christmas parade along Main Street. Fifty entries were registered for the parade. From there, the crowd moved into the alley decorated in 1800s-era signs, and complete with actors and entertainment.
Graves students take in operas
Graves County’s lack of an opera house wasn’t a roadblock for students to learn about the art form after Thanksgiving break.
Kim Harrison, assistant superintendent for Graves County Schools, said 420 students were able to take in “The Magic Flute” — presumably the first opera for many of them — thanks in part to a partnership with Murray State University.
The production was part of a program the university funded to work with area schools.
“This gives students cultural exposure to things they might not see otherwise,” Harrison said. “Kids in Graves County don’t get to see a lot of operas.”
Harrison said the school has made an effort to increase programs delivering art education to all students.
The collaboration with MSU provided a special opportunity, Harrison said.