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story.lead_photo.caption Ruby Suviaz of Bald Knob stands near some of the light displays that will be part of the Foothills Lane of Lights, a nonprofit organization she created. The lights will be turned on at 5 p.m. Saturday, and a live Nativity, carriage rides and a Santa house will be part of the festivities on Friday and Saturday nights through Dec. 23. The lights will continue until Jan. 1. - Photo by Staci Vandagriff

Ruby Suviaz has decorated her 40-acre farm at Christmastime for years, and now she’s bringing the lights to Bald Knob.

“I like to kind of help my town, if I can,” she said.

The 70-year-old restaurant owner, who lives north of Bald Knob, said she created a nonprofit organization, Foothills Lane of Lights.

She said “thousands and thousands” of lights will be displayed along Pinewood East Street to the sports complex. The free holiday event will kick off at 5 p.m. Dec. 1 when the lights are turned on.

It’s a drive-thru display, but there will also be a Santa House available from 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday for children to get their photos made with Kris Kringle, and each child will receive a bag of fruit, nuts and candy.

Doughnuts, coffee and hot chocolate will be given away, too, she said.

“We have a train we’re really proud of,” she said. “It’s just a huge Christmas display. It’s 20 feet tall and 124 feet long.”

A live Nativity, sponsored by two churches, will be on display Friday and Saturday nights, too. Velvet Ridge Church of God and Central Baptist Church in Bald Knob donated money for the Nativity and will provide actors.

“We have sheep and donkeys, and we’re hoping to get a camel,” she said.

The activities will be available Fridays and Saturdays until Dec. 23. The lights will be on every night through Jan. 1, Suviaz said.

“I love Christmas, love kids. This year, we’re going to have horse-and-carriage rides and replicate what we did on the farm,” she said.

“I put the past six months of my life into this,” she said, laughing.

Suviaz said Janet and Alvin Hearyman and Mary and Johnny Hodges were among those involved in the project.

“They helped a great deal,” Suviaz said.

Alvin Hearyman and Johnny Hodges are members of the Bald Knob City Council.

Janet Hearyman emphasized that many people volunteered time and money to bring the event to fruition. Work days were held, and volunteers pitched in.

“I am very excited to see the Lane of Lights in Bald Knob; we’ve needed this for quite some time,” she said. “Ruby does have a passion for Christmas; she just loves Christmas. If a little kid gets excited about something, it makes her day.”

Suviaz, who moved from south Arkansas to Bald Knob about 30 years ago, was a contract forester until she retired in 2013.

“I stayed retired for a couple of years, got bored and opened a restaurant,” she said.

Suviaz owns Southern Maid Donuts and Diner in Bald Knob.

She stopped decorating her farm about 10 years ago, she said, and donated the lights and other Christmas decorations to the city of Bald Knob. Only a few of the decorations were used, she said.

“I hunted up what I could and refurbished lights,” Suviaz said.

Work nights were held for volunteers.

Suviaz said she’s paying for about half of the expenses out of her own pocket.

“We’ve got donations, and I’m footing about half the bill, and donations are footing the other half,” she said.

Suviaz said she will likely attend the event every night.

“I want to be there to see it; I love this stuff,” she said, adding that people of all ages will likely enjoy the lights and festivities.

“It’s gonna be a great thing, and I’d like people to know about it,” Suviaz said. “This is going to continue on for years to come, years to come.”

Hearyman agreed.

“When people work together, great things will happen,” she said.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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