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Electrifying The holidays

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By Kirsten Laskey

You see colored lights swirling around the lampposts along Central Avenue and dazzling the pavement along N.M. 4 in White Rock. At the finale of the Holiday Lights Parade, people await anxiously to see the electric color explosion occur at Ashley Pond.

It’s amazing the effect a few dots of twinkling lights can produce. With a the pull of a switch, the holiday season is ushered in along with all the excitement and merriment that the season brings with it.    

It’s not a simple process that goes into holiday light decorations around Los Alamos and White Rock.

Richard M cIntyre, parks            division manager, said typically the work begins the first week of November.

Workers, primarily from the parks division, but also from the utilities and traffic department, will head out at night to begin the work. McIntyre said the crews do the work at night to easily identify which lights do and do not work.

He added that bucket trucks are used to string the lights on trees. In addition to the lights at Ashley Pond, this year, workers also strung lights around the lampposts along Central Avenue. As soon as they come in, wreaths and garland will also adorn the lampposts.

McIntyre said it takes about four weeks to complete the lights at Ashley Pond, just in time time for the big reveal after the lights parade during Winterfest. McIntyre said he usually invites a family or a child to throw the switch. This year, a little girl named Serenity did the honors.

The lights will stay lit until after the New Year. After the holidays the lights on the trees get unplugged, but the lampposts and the park’s sculptures will be stripped of their holiday fare.

During the period the lights are shining, people really appreciate the display, he said.

At the reveal, “it seems to be a festive evening,” McIntyre said. “People look forward to it. We get a lot of compliments (about) the lights.”

He added it takes a lot of time but the end results are worthwhile. “I think this year’s show is pretty good.”

Janie O’Rourke, LA Walks co-chair, said the lights do add something special to the community. “It really livens up (the town) and gives such warmth to the community,” she said.

“And I do see more people walking,” she added, “I just see people out enjoying (themselves).”

By adding the lights to the lampposts, O’Rourke said, “It makes the downtown more welcoming to visitors and residents.”