Mountain Home’s Coulter Celebration of Lights volunteers and crew wrapped up the city’s first official Christmas light show and festival at Arkansas State University – Mountain Home’s campus Monday evening.
To date, the show has had over 7500 cars drive through its gates despite being put together on short notice.
“We were very successful for our very first year,” said Mountain Home Mayor Hillrey Adams. “I was very satisfied with how it went. After tonight, we’ll have raised over $38,000 through the donation bucket. A fourth of that will go toward scholarships at ASU and the other 75% will go to purchase more lights.”
Created through a joint effort between the city of Mountain Home, ASUMH, and the Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce, the Coulter Celebration of Lights officially started moving in Aug. of this year.
Through the help of city council, the city began purchasing as many lights as it could find in preparation for the Christmas festival that was to take place on ASUMH’s campus. On its own, the city had raised $80,000 to fund the creation of the drive-thru lights display.
In Sept., Dr. Ed and Lucretia Coulter decided to donate $200,000 to the light show in honor of Ed Coulter’s late wife, Dr. Fran Coulter. The donation allowed the ASUMH and the city to take its light show to the next level by purchasing more displays before its grand opening on Nov. 22.
Dr. Ed Coulter is the chancellor emeritus of ASUMH and helped found the college campus during its inception in 1995. His late wife, Fran Dryer Coulter, a member of Mountain Home’s Dryer family, helped Coulter establish the campus while serving as one of its professors.
Dr. Fran Coulter died in 2001 after battling cancer.
“It wouldn’t have been possible without the donations of the Coulter family and also the other sponsors out there,” Adams said.
To date, the Coulter Celebration of Light’s has raised roughly $38,000 through its donation bucket and has had anywhere between 7500-7800 cars drive through. Final numbers for the Christmas light celebration are still being tallied.
Adams said the light show has been popular, pulling visitors from Missouri and other areas within a 1-2 hour drive. Plans to expand the show are already being made, including ideas like new light displays, Ferris wheels and ice rinks.
The Coulter Celebration of Lights has raised almost $418,000 through its various donors and contributors.
“The community support that we’ve seen is going to allow us to grow. I promise year two will be a lot bigger,” Adams said.