Community group formed to support Candy Cane Lane


Following a fire at Candy Cane Lane founder Tim Murphy’s property Thursday morning that authorities are calling suspicious, a group of West Frankfort residents has formed to support Murphy and the famous Christmas display.

The cause of the fire, which burned a storage shed owned by Murphy, is still unknown. The building was used to house Candy Cane Lane displays as well as personal items owned by Murphy. Most display items were still out for the season, and were not damaged by the fire.

But numerous incidences of vandalism and theft have been reported at Candy Cane Lane this year, the most recent being on Christmas Eve, when vandals sliced holes in Murphy’s blow-up display items. They had been put in the shed to be repaired for next year and were burned up in the fire.

A small group of residents, including former and current Frankfort Community High School art students taught by Murphy, gathered at Candy Cane Lane Thursday night to collect donations, and then met at the West Frankfort McDonald’s to discuss how best to help.

“First and foremost, we have to make him (Murphy) feel like people are behind him and supporting him,” organizer Kerri Melvin said.

Group members said they want to raise enough money to make Candy Cane Lane more secure from vandals and thieves next year, possibly by installing camera surveillance, a fence behind Murphy’s property and/or hiring a security guard for the season.

The new group, which is being called “Friends of Candy Cane Lane,” collected $821 on Thursday night, from people driving through the neighborhood to show support.

They plan to set up an account at First Bank and begin accepting donations there after 1 p.m. today.

Update 12:55 p.m. 12/28/2012: The group has set up the account at Southern Illinois Bank. Donations can be sent to the Friends of Candy Cane Lane c/o Southern Illinois Bank, P.O. Box 128, West Frankfort, IL 62896.

The group discussed a number of fundraising ideas to be held throughout the year. Tentative plans call for an initial event in January that would feature a slate of bands and be called “Murph’s Winter Jam.” The group is searching for an appropriate venue for that event.

Other tentative events discussed for the year include a family-oriented mostaccioli dinner with a silent auction, and a poker run.

The group is looking for more volunteers and fundraising ideas. A second meeting is tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 4 at La Fiesta restaurant in West Frankfort.

A Facebook page has been set up here to disseminate information, and you can e-mail for more information.

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