Some municipal workers have been at it for a while now. Unpacking, unwinding and stringing thousands of holiday lights to make the Grosse Pointes aglow. Others will begin after Thanksgiving.
Any passers-by reap the benefits of the decorations each holiday season. It's just part of life in the Pointes. While it would certainly be missed if there were none, most people are not thinking about the behind the scenes work but there is plenty.
A recent inquiry to all of the Grosse Pointes revealed there are thousands of lights used to decorate the trees, building and roadways.
In , approximately 30,000 to 40,000 lights are strung on the city hall and the surrounding grounds. Workers there began the project on a day with 65 degree weather and sun—conditions that are much more pleasant for hanging and wrapping strands of lights. Director of Public Services Joseph Ahee said the longest part of the job is actually going through the strands of lights to replace burned out bulbs before they are strung on trees, lamp posts or elsewhere.
A few employees tackle the job over several weeks plugging away at it gradually, he said. A variety of things have slowed the process a bit this year so a team of employees spent a good amount of time Friday finishing it up, he said.
In , while the display changes annually for variety, just more than 100,000 lights adorn the trees, lamp posts, buildings and roadways, Director of Public Services Terry Brennan said. The process to string the lights there begins after Thanksgiving, he said.
In , there are nearly 15,000 lights used to decorate city hall, the large evergreen tree and the municipal grounds as well as 46 light poles along Lake Shore Road, Director of Public Services Brett Smith said. The process takes weeks as employees plug away at the project a bit each day, he said.
In the , approximately 50,000 to 60,000 lights are used to to decorate the main tree, lightpoles, smaller trees and buildings, said Public Services Supervisor Gary Huavere. Each lightpole in the Village, for example, has garland with 1,800 lights, he said.
City Manager Pete Dame said Huavere has been leading the decoration efforts for about 20 years. Huavere and Public Service Director Paul Weitzel decorate the well-recognized clock of the Village with wreaths. Total decoration time takes about a week and a half as employees fit it in between other daily responsibilities, Dame said.
In , the installation is contracted out but City Manager Dale Krajniak said there about 37,000 lights used. The Park decorates the business district on Kercheval Avenue, Windmill Pointe Park, the municipal building and more, City Clerk/Finance Director Jane Blahut said. More than 22,000 lights are used to decorate along Jefferson Avenue alone, she said.
All together, there are roughly about 242,000 holiday lights making the Grosse Poitnes aglow during the holiday season. It is far more when residential light decorations are factored in.