NOVEMBER 26, 2006 -- POSTED AT 8:30 P.M. CST
JONESBORO, AR-- Downtown Jonesboro has been the home to a special place during the Christmas season. Winter Wonderland on Main Street started over 10 years ago as part of the Lights on the Ridge display and just weeks ago, the woman behind the holiday decor, passed away.
In 1995, Donna Chetister had a dream to create a place during the Christmas season for both young and old to enjoy. Less than a month ago, Donna died of cancer. Much of the arts and crafts inside winter wonderland are Donna's creations and although she 's not there this year to see it open, those who knew her best say she would want it to continue for years to come.
"Donna's passion for Winter Wonderland made us want to continue. People would ask us are you going to have Winter Wonderland this year and I'd tell them we couldn't possibly not have Winter Wonderland. I mean now it's more for Donna than anything else," says Libby Donohue, co-designer of Winter Wonderland.
Donna's daughter, Alison remembers working on Winter Wonderland as a child. She says it meant everything to her mother and for that reason, she works to keep that passion alive.
"You can't walk in this place and not see my mother. She donated so much of her time and so much of her ability to make this place what it is today," says Alison Chetister.
They both agree, Winter Wonderland will always be full of Donna's vision and talent, but they say it's her giving spirit that will continue to bring this place to life for years to come.
"She did it out of just goodness. She wanted something that people could enjoy, have fun with and create a tradition," says Libby Donohue.
Winter Wonderland is now just days away from opening, opening for the first time without Donna. But because of her love for this place, they say it will live on.
"It would please my mother to no end if this place was packed to know that people would come visit her. She worked so hard on this year round and put everything that she had into it to make everybody happy," says Alison Chetister.
Winter Wonderland will open to the public for free starting December 1st through Christmas.
Wed-Fri: 5:30 P.M.-8:00 P.M.