Vandals target holiday festival

November 14, 2008 3:11:27 PM PST
The holiday season is about to get into full swing, and several cities are preparing their displays. But in Dickinson they will have to start over again.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The Dickinson Festival of Lights is a big family event each holiday season. It's put together by a team of dedicated volunteers who raise the money it takes to put on the display. But apparently not everyone appreciates it.

Amidst the thousands of lights and decorations meant to make us smile is a sign not at all of the holiday spirit. This week someone or some group took a can of white spray paint and went to work, vandalizing or damaging parts of the annual display. There's a swastika on Santa's sled along with other choice words, the inappropriate defacing of a pair of snow people and replacing the word Jesus with the word "pot" on a display sign.

Dickinson resident Debbie Lummas said, "I think it's pretty sad that somebody would do something like that. I mean, I just can't imagine."

For 11 years now the festival of lights has greeted Dickinson this time of year. Never before has this happened.

Even before the vandals, this has been a challenging year for the festival. Hurricane Ike did a lot of damage to the park, and it took volunteers weekend after weekend to get it ready for the lights.

"It took a big local effort just to get the park ready to house the festival of lights," said Captain Arnold Mareno with the Dickinson Police Department. "The time and effort that goes into it with all of the community volunteers -- it's kind of frustrating."

It's frustrating as well because police have few, if any, clues as to who did it or why. But residents who look forward to the lights every year would like to know.

"I think it really sucks you know," said Dickinson resident Leemethra Johnican.

Lummas added, "It just really is sad because I think it's a nice thing that they're doing here for the city."

Police have no suspects yet, though they are asking for help. You can call the Dickinson Police Department at 281-337-6308.

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