Putnam County girl to flip switch Friday on Circle of Lights
INDIANAPOLIS -- A seven-year-old Putnam County girl will light up an awful lot of lives Friday night on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis.
Paris Nolan, a Bainbridge Elementary School first-grader, won the honor to flip the switch at the massive Friday night event when her coloring contest entry was selected from more than 2,000 submissions.
Her colorful rendition included an artistic drawing of Monument Circle's festive holiday scene, complete with colorful light strands -- all inside the outline of a Christmas light bulb.
"There is only one winner," Jennifer Hanson, communications director for Indianapolis Downtown Inc., told the Banner Graphic Monday. "Paris will actually be up on stage with Santa doing our countdown -- four, three, two, one ... and then the lights go on.
"So it is a very special privilege."
In addition to flipping the switch at approximately 7:45 p.m. Friday on Monument Circle, Paris will receive a Circle of Lights gift package, her original coloring sheet and a photo with Santa Claus on stage.
More than 100,000 spectators are expected for the Circle of Lights, the annual Indianapolis ceremonial lighting and holiday kickoff, presented Friday by the Contractors of Quality Connection and Electrical Workers of IBEW 481.
The 6-8 p.m. event will feature festive acts from entertainers who were selected from statewide auditions as Santa makes an official appearance to kick off the holidays.
Paris will help light the 4,784 lights upon what is referred to as "the world's largest Christmas tree" in a celebration that will end with fireworks.
Told she had won the right to flip the switch, Paris was speechless for a minute, her grandmother Angie McIntosh said.
"Then she said, 'OK, I get to light up the city.' We are very proud of our country girl."
Paris and her mother, Holy Stabler, reside at Heritage Lake. The youngster's interests include camping, fishing, cheerleading, basketball, animals and country music.
Despite being only seven years old, "she is a huge advocate for breast cancer awareness," her grandmother said.
Paris was announced Monday afternoon as the winner of the coloring contest by contractors of Quality Connection and electrical workers of IBEW 481, the presenting partners of the 2011 Circle of Lights.
This year, a new partner also helped support the coloring contest, the UPS Store, which joins continuing sponsors College Choice 529 and Ivy Tech Community College.