The Greenleaf Cemetery Trail of Lights enters its second and final weekend this Friday and Saturday, Dec. 22 and 23, from 6 to 8 p.m.
The driving tour is sponsored by Keep Brownwood Beautiful and features hundreds of Christmas-colored lights arranged throughout the cemetery for a peaceful holiday drive. Attendees will enter the cemetery through the old gate on Center Avenue near Texas Street, drive through and exit onto Highway 377.
A volunteer will collect donations at the entrance, and KOXE will play Christmas music that drivers can tune to during the tour.
Steve Harris is the president of the Greenleaf Cemetery board and one of the organizers of the first Holiday Trail of Lights. After a year of financial difficulties and emergency fundraisers, Harris said Greenleaf is back on the right track. “It’s really tough when you’re facing all the things we’ve been facing out here,” Harris said. “But we’re climbing out of this.”
Harris intends to turn the Trail of Lights into the cemetery’s largest annual fundraiser. The entire route is lit with solar-powered energy, putting the “green in Greenleaf,” as Harris puts it. And the lights, while impressive, aren’t particularly flashy or gaudy. Harris didn’t want an “over-the-top” production, he said — his own mother is buried in Greenleaf, so he appreciates the need for a respectful display.
Harris said the fundraiser’s first weekend was a big success.
“It was cold and wet, and we didn’t know what to expect,” Harris said. “But we heard nothing but positive things all weekend. We had two really good nights.”
One of the women who drove through last weekend, Harris said, promised a donation for the cemetery. On Thursday at Steves’ Market and Deli, where Harris works, she delivered a card with two checks totaling $1,500 inside.
Harris said the donation is just the latest evidence that the community wants to see Greenleaf succeed — after all, almost everyone in Brownwood has a relative buried somewhere inside. “People are seeing the progress out here. They’re seeing that we’re working together and getting our ship in order, and people are in turn investing and believing in Greenleaf again.”
Greenleaf Cemetery is located at 2701 Highway 377 S.