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Local women, Hedda King and Jeanne Zerbe, have been stringing solar lights on Main and Third streets in Prineville to beatify downtown at night

RAMONA MCCALLISTER - Hedda King, left, and Jeanne Zerbe stand by one of the trees at Pioneer Park on Third Street that they have adorned with solar lightsIn December of 2020, two local women set out to initiate an idea that would lift people up during the overwhelming affects of the pandemic lockdowns.

Hedda King and Jeanne Zerbe chose the idea of providing businesses and community members with wishing sticks, something three-dimensional that would catch the eyes of the community and brighten their spirits. The idea was universally embraced, and multiple businesses were willing to display the wishing sticks with stars attached, on Jan. 4, the time chosen to unveil them.

The two women chose January to give people something to enjoy after the Christmas season ended, and the bright stars remained on display until the end of the month. Taking the wishing theme a step further, every business owner who displayed a wishing stick outside their business were given a box to collect the wishes of patrons. A local donor provided funding to create two cash giveaways for wishes that local patrons turned in.

"It turned out excellent, and the results were tremendous. Besides giving away the two big $1,000 prizes, we selected a lot of the wishes that were made by kids, and we gave it to the high school. I think they fulfilled over 100 of those wishes. It was very successful, and it was fun," said Zerbe.

Recently, strings of lights began to appear on trees throughout town. After light turns to darkness, twinkling lights are visible in various locations on Third Street. Night Magic is an extension of the Wishing Sticks project that King and Zerbe did two years ago during the height of the pandemic.

Both women agreed that they both have a great deal of pride in Prineville and want to have other folks look at the town the way that they do. Their objective is to make Prineville as beautiful at night as it is during the day.

"It is just another way of making Prineville more fun," added King. "Downtown businesses have enthusiastically supported both our projects because they too want recognition of being a creative town."

Zerbe and King have strung more than 100 tree with solar lights throughout businesses of Prineville. In front of businesses, they have decorated trees with solar lights that come on at night when evening falls. They have challenged the merchants on Main and Third Streets to join in their "Night Magic" project.

"Let's brag about Prineville…we challenge everyone on Main and Third Street to buy solar lights and place them on their trees," stated Zerbe.

She indicated that solar lights can be ordered online for $10-12, and they last a couple of years. Once the lights are purchased, they do not cost anything to maintain. King said that she counted the trees from the Ochoco Plaza to Wild Ride Brewing and noted that there are a large number of trees that can potentially be decorated.

"The challenge is for additional businesses along Third and Main streets to buy their own solar lights, so those streets have Night Magic from one end of town to the other," concluded King.

For more information on Night Magic, call Jeanne Zerbe at 541-231-2906.


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