Citizens committee raising funds for courthouse Christmas lighting

Posted Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Parker County’s citizens committee tasked with raising funds for courthouse Christmas lighting has something special for the community to see and it is on eBay.

The “Courthouse Gourd,” as it is known, was donated to the group by local artist Rhonda Cooper of Weatherford and has gone up for auction beginning Sunday and will last for 10 days.

To bid on the “Courthouse Gourd” go to and search for item #111139109445, or you can search by the seller’s id, “model-t-lady.” Again, the listing is active and available for view on eBay.

All money raised from auctioning the gourd will go to the Parker County Courthouse Christmas Lighting Fund.

“We are very pleased and excited about the wonderful donation from Rhonda Cooper,” said Committee Chairperson Donna Tillman. “Her artwork is both unique and beautiful.”

Cooper began her artistic endeavors by sketching portraits with pencils and also worked in the medium of water colors before she was introduced to gourds by a friend four years ago.

She said it has been quite a learning experience and that she now grows and dries her own gourds before she begins the design process which entails pyrography, the technique of creating designs using heated tools that burn away some of the surface.

Enhancing the beauty of that courthouse is why Parker County Judge Mark Riley formed the citizens committee with a directive to bring ideas to the table from the community for making the courthouse a more prominent feature during the Christmas holiday as it was in the past.

“I can’t thank Rhonda Cooper enough for the donation of her wonderful work of art,” Riley said. “I also want to thank, the people of our hard working committee and those in the community who have donated, and those who will donate to this vision. The reward is going to be the night we light that Christmas tree and the courthouse glows with Christmas spirit. It will be a look that is reminiscent of our communities past and a look we can proudly anticipate to see for many years to come.”

Committee members are Tillman, Bob and Carolyn Glenn, Jonelle Bartoli, Britton Schweitzer and Lori Bennett.

In addition, the committee hopes to raise enough funds for Christmas lights and other decorations for the courthouse and courthouse lawn.

“Our Committee has been hard at work,” Tillman said. “The tree for the lawn and the stars for the top of the Courthouse have been ordered and plans are being finalized for the lighting ceremony that will take place on Saturday, Nov. 30.”

Tillman said the committee is in the process of ramping up its fundraising efforts through the placement of donation jars in area businesses amongst other things.

Those wishing to make a donation can do so by calling Tillman at Holland Lake Nursing Center in Weatherford at 817-598-0160. Those who would like to purchase a print of the courthouse, with proceeds going to the Christmas Lighting Committee, can do so by contacting Lori Bennett at Hartness Print Central on the square in Weatherford at 817-594-6020.

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