Peninsula Daily News
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Stringing more than 100,000 lights in trees downtown is no easy feat, requiring coordination and funding from the Port Angeles Downtown Association and the strong backs and arms of Olympic Kiwanis club members, according to Barb Frederick, PADA executive director.
PADA spends nearly $5,000 on the project each year, with money budgeted for the project and contributions from downtown businesses, Frederick said in a statement.
That money pays for the 12,000 multicolored lights on the city Christmas tree at the Conrad Dyar Memorial Fountain at Front and Laurel streets and for the white street-tree lights installed by the Kiwanis Club members, said Bob Lumens, PADA board member and design committee chair.
Kiwanis members spend nearly a month installing the lights, ensuring they are in place by Thanksgiving, Frederick said.
They use tools they have made specifically for the job after several years of experience.
PADA began the contract with Kiwanis in the early 1990s after a service club found results were spotty after soliciting help from individual businesses.
To ensure that all the trees had lights and the club was paid, the partnership began.
“We contract with Kiwanis to install the lights in all the trees, and it gives them money for scholarships, so it's a great deal for the community,” Lumens said.
The lights “have to be replaced each year because they get frayed” by wind and vandalism, “and they would be a safety hazard,” Lumens said.
“That's why we haven't gone with LEDs on those.”
LED lights are used on the wreaths and trees that decorate the light poles.
At one time, they were decorated with hundreds of incandescent lights that had to be changed each year.
In 2011, they were replaced with LED lights in a partnership with the city.
The LED lights won't need to be changed for five years and use considerably less electricity.
“We got to talking about the time it took and the huge amount of electricity that the lights were drawing, and the idea of replacing them with LEDs made a huge amount of sense in terms of amount of electricity drawn and saving time,” Lumens said.
The LED lights were purchased with city conservation money, he said.
PADA seeks contributions for the incandescent lights used each year.
“So many people tell us how much they enjoy the lights and would like to contribute to them, so we've put containers in businesses for anyone who wants to put in a dollar or two,” Lumens said.
Jars can be found at the shop Lumens owns with Lindi Lumens, Northwest Fudge & Confections, 108 W. First St., as well as on the counters of Olympic Stationers, 122 E. Front St.; Necessities and Temptations gift shop, 217 N. Laurel St.; Cottage Queen, 119 W. First St.; Port Book and News, 104 E. First St.; Bay Variety, 135 W. First St.; Brown's Outdoor, 112 W. Front St.; Smugglers Landing, 115 E. Railroad Ave.; and Sound Bikes & Kayaks 120 E. Front St.
Contributions to the lights also can be sent to PADA at P.O. Box 582, Port Angeles, WA 98362.