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Elgin Lights to open Thursday

Posted: December 13, 2011 4:09 p.m.
Updated: December 13, 2011 4:04 p.m.

Paul Towns and his wife Sarah are continuing a 14-year tradition of setting up lights and trains for their community to enjoy.
However, the “Towns Family Christmas” has evolved over the years.
In 2003, it moved from a family friend’s home on Whippoorwill Lane to the Towns’ country home on Charlie Horse Circle. 
And in 2004 when Towns was diagnosed with Lymphoma, the project took on a new meaning.
“That’s when we decided to donate all the proceeds to Kamp Chemo,” Sarah said.
All of the money is donated in the memory of Cole Sawyer, an 11-year-old who lost his life to cancer.
Towns said he didn’t even know Cole, but when he heard on the evening news that this little boy had went to Kamp Chemo and was helping raise money to give other children the chance to go, it struck a chord.
In previous years, the Towns have sent 13 children to Kamp Chemo with the proceeds from their light and train show, and they plan to do the same this year.
“I want to help these kids,” Towns said. “I’ve had a great life. I want to give these kids the chance to have the same.”
Towns grew up on a dairy farm in Michigan, so tractors and farm tools hold a special place in his heart. Other than Christmas lights, Towns invites the public to see his authentic 1930s workshop, civil war pieces, toy trains and tractors, wood working tools and much more.
New exhibits include a working 1900 blacksmith shop, a breast cancer awareness section  and new photo props.
Towns began a new tradition last year of inviting choirs to come sing during the shows.
“It can be anyone, a church group, a club or just a bunch of kids. If you’re interested in singing here just give me a call and I’ll put you on the schedule,” he said.
Towns said he thinks Christmas carols would add to the overall experience, and hes willing to work with anyone who would like to perform at the lights.
To contact Towns, call 408-0131. For more information about the “Towns Family Christmas” visit


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