As Christmas grows near, all around Madison County the halls are being decked with boughs of holly and Christmas lights are being strung, especially in the heart of Richmond at the courthouse.

Thanks to the hard work of the Madison County Roads Department, the county is looking more festive than ever. On Monday morning, an almost 20-foot tall Christmas tree was delivered in front of the courthouse, according to roads department administrator Scott Shepherd.

Helping to light it with around 6,000 lights is a seasoned veteran, Shane Poff. Poff has been decorating and lighting the Richmond Christmas tree for 18 and a half years. He was joined on Tuesday with a rookie, Shelby Dunigan, who was stringing the lights for the first time.

The job has taken the two, and others, almost two days to complete, working from 8:30 in the morning to 5:30 in the evening. But for those wondering, the tree will be ready for Judge/Executive Reagan Taylor to light before the holiday parade on Friday evening.

According to an official at the judge/executive's office, the ceremony will start at 6:30 p.m. Friday. There will be music, fun and candy canes, as Taylor reads the holiday classic "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." After the reading, Taylor will pass out candy canes before joining in the parade.

The Richmond Christmas parade will have a similar route to past parades, according to Elizabeth Eversole, program coordinator for the Richmond Parks Department. However, the parade will exit the Alumni Coliseum Parking Lot by leaving through Model Laboratory High School's exit.

Also new this year is the theme, "Old Fashioned Christmas."

"The department came up with a few different themes and then decided to have the community vote on the options," Eversole previously told the Register. "We were excited to see Old Fashioned Christmas was the winner. The theme means honoring tradition, and I'm excited to see what the community comes up with."

Roads close at 6:30 p.m. Friday, so attendees should plan accordingly.

Reach Kaitlyn Brooks at 624-6608; follow her on Twitter @kaitlynskovran.

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