It is never too early to get into the Christmas spirit. This year members of the Greenleaf Cemetery Association and Keep Brownwood Beautiful are a few of the organizations already at work spreading the holiday spirit.

The Holiday Trail of Lights at Greenleaf Cemetery is a premier event this year and is designed to be the epic fundraiser for the historic perpetual care cemetery.

The board of Greenleaf Cemetery, community leaders and members of Keep Brownwood Beautiful are asking for the community to participate in the Holiday Trail of Lights by helping to light up the cemetery with solar lights, which includes illuminating grave monuments, and by sponsoring solar wreaths and Christmas trees illuminated with solar lights.

“We want to be respectful and have a celebration for our loved ones,” board member Steve Harris said. “People can enjoy the lights that we have put up as they drive slowly along the designated trail.”

Board members and volunteers have already started placing solar up-lights at some of the monuments. Harris said the board is also seeking corporate and individual sponsors for the event, which will become an annual event going forward.

The community may participate by decorating the graves of their loved ones with solar lights. In addition, solar trees and wreaths may be sponsored through the Greenleaf Cemetery Association with a donation of $45.95 each. The deadline to make donations for wreaths and trees is Dec. 10.

Keep Brownwood Beautiful has partnered with the Greenleaf Cemetery Association and has secured lighting from Lone Star Electric of Abilene.

“Our role is helping them get solar lights and actually doing the decorating,” Perrin said. “We realize how important it is to the community and also for those who are from outside the community who would like to come visit.”

Harris said KBB has been instrumental in getting the Holiday Trail of Lights event off the ground.

The Holiday Trail of Lights will be a driving tour to be held from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 15 and 16 and Dec. 22 and 23, in which attendees may enter through the Old Cemetery Gate on Center Avenue near Texas Street and exit only at the gate on Highway 377 South.

There will be carolers and choirs set up at the lighted pavilion.

“People need to understand the financial condition and ever increasing expenses of old large historic cemeteries like Greenleaf Cemetery and fundraisers like the Holiday Trail of Lights are important in order for the cemeteries to survive and thrive,” Harris said.

Perrin and volunteers from KBB will also be decorating downtown Brownwood as well as areas along the Traffic T and along Main Street. The plan is to have city hall professionally lit up.

“Our city will be lit up for the holidays,” Perrin said.

Greenleaf Cemetery history

The Greenleaf Cemetery was established in 1868.  Greenleaf Fisk gave five acres to the town for a burial place, and two and one half acres each to the Pecan Valley IOOF Lodge No. 236, October 26, 1883, and to the Brownwood Masonic Lodge No. 141 AF and AM, on Dec. 3, 1883, making a total of 10 acres for burial purposes.  There have been four additions to the cemetery since then and it now has over 20,000 burials.  A section was set aside in 1958 for members of the Catholic denomination.  The cemetery was named Round Mountain and later renamed Greenleaf.  The Brownwood Garden Club built the present entrance. The Greenleaf Cemetery Association was incorporated April 10, 1923.  The Greenleaf Cemetery is a non-profit perpetual care cemetery.  Its governing body consists of five board members, elected by members of the Greenleaf Cemetery Association.  The cemetery is located off Highway 377 South (Brady Highway) across the railroad tracks within the city limits of Brownwood.