COVID-19 means no holiday events, but Dunsmuir volunteers ensure town is merry and bright

Shareen Strauss
Dunsmuir Councilman Big Dave Keisler with the help of community members worked into the night hanging wreaths and decorating the poles. This year, there will be no holiday events due to the pandemic.

Although COVID-19 canceled Dunsmuir's Candle in the Canyon and all other in-person holiday events, city councilor "Big Dave" Keisler is part of a group of volunteers working to make the town merry and bright as part of a competition challenge through the League of California Cities.

“I will be damned if I am going to let the tradition die. We need all the holiday spirit we can come up with this year," said Keisler. "Putting these decorations up will give Dunsmuir people a boost ... I don’t know what the prize is, just to be recognized will be alright.”  

Sacramento Valley Division members may not hold events, but they can post pictures from Dec. 10 through Jan. 3, featuring their town's holiday decorations.

Last week, the volunteers placed five-foot wreaths around every light and swirled garland around light poles on the five-block stretch of downtown Dunsmuir. People yelled encouragement from their cars as they passed, giving thanks to the decorating team as they worked into the evening on Tuesday evening.

Many Dunsmuir residents volunteered to hang wreaths and decorate five blocks of downtown to bring the holiday sprite to town competing in a challenge of the League of California Cities.

The tradition was started by Ed and JoAnne Steele ore than a decade ago through the Lions Club. The decorating tradition is now supported by the Dunsmuir Rotary.

Along the fences of the community garden and Children’s Park are wreaths that were made  by Dunsmuir High Schools' sixth grade class in 2000. The League of California will host a video of the small-town spirit for each city that participates in the challenge.  

“I miss all the holiday activities we’ve had in the past," said volunteer Misty Gregory as she held a ladder while wreaths were placed on light posts. "It is like a ghost town this year because of COVID. I hope that decorating the town will keep the holiday spirit alive through all this ... It is good to see the support and the appreciation people have for us doing this.”  

The Dunsmuir Rotary is raising funds through a holiday pie sale to support the Dunsmuir Elementary School Backpack program. Pies are on sale Tuesdays and Rotary members will deliver pies on Wednesday. To order, call Will Newman (530) 235-5735. 

Dunsmuir Councilman Big Dave Keisler with the help of community members worked into the night hanging wreaths and decorating light posts. This year, there will be no holiday events due to the pandemic.