Putting up Glenwood’s holiday lights is a multimonth project | PostIndependent.com
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Putting up Glenwood’s holiday lights is a multimonth project

JOHN GARDNERPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson
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The lights are up, and downtown Glenwood Springs is festive once again.Three men worked as furiously as ants, stringing holiday lights in the crab apple trees lining Grand Avenue on Friday, two working from ladders, one from the ground. The chilly morning was the final day for the Grand Avenue portion of the project.The three men, including 53-year-old Candido De La Cruz with Christmas Decor, a holiday lighting and decorating company owned by Jim Waters of Glenwood Springs, had been stringing trees with around 3,000 lights each. It takes the three only about an hour to do one tree, but they’ve had plenty of practice.”It takes about two-and-a-half months to get it all done,” Waters said. “We start the first of October and finish about December 15. Then it takes about the same amount of time to take them all down.”So Waters and his crew spend nearly half the year dealing with enough Christmas lights that would make Clark Griswold jealous. Then, once all the lights are up, they spend about 15 hours a week maintaining the lights. They check them all in the evening and mark the ones that are out. Then they go around and replace them the following day.

All those lights don’t end up just in Glenwood, either. Waters covers from Basalt to Glenwood, and from Rifle to Avon along Interstate-70 with lights each season.”Each year we expand a little,” Waters said. “But we are careful about the amount we take on, we like to maintain and keep up the good quality of lights.”Waters and his crew spent Tuesday stringing lights at the Garfield County Courthouse in Glenwood covering the building and the trees in the courtyard. Waters has done the job for the city of Glenwood for the past eight years. This year the lights have changed a little bit. He’s switching from the normal mini-lights to the more energy efficient light emitting diode (LED) lights.”We did use some last year, and we are switching more and more in that direction,” Waters said.The cost for the LED lights is about 30 percent higher than the regular lights used in the past, according to Waters. But the lower operating costs will save the city and county money in the long run, even with what it costs Waters to put them up and maintain them.

“It’s a win-win in all ways,” Waters said.The difference between the two sets of lights, according to Waters, is that it takes the same amount of energy to run 3,200 mini-lights as it does to run 32,000 of the LED-type lights from the same 15-amp circuit.”We are trying to light more trees and save on electricity, too,” Waters said. “On the small trees they will use about 90 percent less energy, and on the larger trees, like the two trees in Centennial Park downtown, they will save about 85 percent.”The holidays may bring more work for Waters and his crew. Luckily, he said this is his favorite time of year; he’s no Scrooge.”Being able to help people and seeing the joy they get from what we do for them, that’s the best part,” Waters said. “It’s nice to be able to help them out.”



Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO


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