With the way 2020’s been going, Tiffany Pierce wanted a little Christmas cheer early this year — during the summer, to be exact. In August, she was scrolling through Facebook while watching holiday movies with her husband and saw a surprising post from the Candy Cane Crib.
For the past 10 years, Ryan Schultz has been putting on the Candy Cane Crib, a light display in Columbia that benefits local charities. But one day in August, Schultz found that his entire trailer of lights had been stolen. The show couldn’t go on without lights, so Schultz took to Facebook to announce the end of the tradition. But Pierce had a different idea.
“I, for some reason, was thinking, ‘I hadn't seen a GoFundMe created,’” Pierce says. “And I know that that's probably the only way that they're going to keep this tradition. So I just decided, you know, what's the worst that could happen?”
That same day, Pierce started a GoFundMe page, and it spread like wildfire. Currently, the fundraising campaign has raised $1,440. She says it didn’t take much work on her end — after all, all she had to do was create the page and share it on social media.
“And that's really the least I think that I could do for somebody who puts so much effort into our community,” Pierce says. “He doesn't have to do this every year. He chooses to, and that's part of the beautiful thing about keeping that tradition alive, is that person wants us to be happy. And I think that we owe it to them to do the same thing.”
Local companies, including Wingate Pest and Lawn and Evoke Group are also pitching in to keep the tradition alive. They and other businesses will have ads at the display this year in tandem with their donations.
Withrow Electric and Logboat Brewing Company, which hosts the lights show on its property, are the presenting sponsors for the display. Even before the theft, Schultz says Withrow Electric played an important role in the Candy Cane Crib, since they helped him out when he was first starting the business at his house years ago.
“We have always donated towards making the showcase bigger and better by donating money for more lights and displays,” says Keri Showers, the office manager and greeter for Withrow Electric. “In recent years, we came together to bring even more businesses on board with sponsorships in return for signage at the Crib.”
Showers says Withrow is always happy to help with the Candy Cane Crib because it’s a win-win situation. They get their name out in the community while also helping a charity in need. Now that the Candy Cane Crib is in need, the spirit of giving continues.
“This year has been so difficult for far too many people, and it would be our hope that The Candy Cane Crib would help bring some joy and happiness, maybe even normalcy to our awesome community,” Showers says.
Pierce believes this community effort is what will really make the Candy Cane Crib special this year.
“When I go this year with my family, I'll know that, you know, this person standing next to me could have had an impact on keeping this tradition alive,” Pierce says. “And I think that it will be probably their biggest year yet. And I'm happy that we could be just a tiny, tiny little fraction in helping keep that tradition alive.”