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Fairfield's Central Park decorations vandalized

A reindeer in Fairfield’s Central Park is missing a leg from what appears to be an act of vandalism committed the night the downtown lights were turned on, Friday, Nov. 27. (Andy Hallman/The Union)
A reindeer in Fairfield’s Central Park is missing a leg from what appears to be an act of vandalism committed the night the downtown lights were turned on, Friday, Nov. 27. (Andy Hallman/The Union)
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FAIRFIELD — Decorations in Fairfield’s Central Park were damaged in an apparent act of vandalism late Friday night or early Saturday morning.

The lights in the city’s Central Park are normally turned on during a ceremony the day after Thanksgiving. The Holiday Lighting Ceremony was canceled this year due to the pandemic, but the lights were turned on at the same time Friday but with less fanfare.

The following day, Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Darien Sloat received a call from Fairfield Mayor Connie Boyer informing him of vandalism in Central Park.

“I went to the square thinking these irreplaceable decorations had been destroyed,” Sloat said.

When he arrived, Sloat found 110 lights around the gazebo had been unscrewed and smashed. The gazebo, known officially as the Ron Prill Bandstand, is home to figurines representing Santa, his sleigh and reindeer. One of the reindeer’s legs was broken in half. Another reindeer was missing a leg.

Sloat said he was relieved to learn the damaged items could be replaced in the case of the light bulbs and repaired in the case of the reindeer legs. He estimated the cost of the bulbs and repairs would be about $300.

“I want people to respect what we have here,” Sloat said of the downtown decorations.

Sloat said he hopes that whoever is responsible for the damage will feel remorseful and strive to be a better person.

“It does seem like one of those moments where people were not thinking so much,” he said.

Sloat said he took one of the reindeer legs home with him and asked Earl Stimson Jr., who repairs the chamber’s decorations, if he could get to work on it. Stimson told Sloat he would retrieve the leg Monday and begin the repair.

Those who wish to make a donation to repair, maintain and add decorations to Fairfield’s Central Park can contact the Chamber at info@fairfieldiowa.com or call 641-472-2111. The Chamber’s Christmas Committee is in charge of managing the decorations.