Tuesday, November 22, 2011

HLS Teaser

Our first lights test for the Holiday Lights Show went quite well last night. All the photos in this blog were taken last night and we were happy to see a front page shot in our local Janesville Gazette taken by Bill Olmsted (photo from last night too). We had quite a few staff and volunteers wandering through the show at 4:30 pm to see how it looks. We saw Polly, Lori, Amanda, Marv, Marianne, Terry, Pat, Big John, John's wife Jackie (and their granddaughter), Dave E., Rollie, Gena, Dennis, Del, Janice, Jenny, Christine R. and Mary (to the right and dressed for the occasion!). Look at Rollie over her shoulder mugging for the camera! In past years, the first test night is fraught with all sorts of power issues that we frequently struggle with over the following days. We had no power problems as the new circuits that Tom C. and Dick P. installed yesterday right before the test made a huge difference. We took a roll of pink tape with us and marked areas that needed attention the following day (today). I thought the HLS looked as good as it ever has and we've had about four years in a row where I think it has been quite impressive in scale and layout. We'll test the show another night as we have to make sure everything is in working order for the premiere lighting at the Taste of Chocolate event at RBG (limited seating still available! check out our website!).

Most of the displays, like the lily-of-the-valley to the left, were made years ago by Randy M. from Brodhead, WI. Randy and his father custom made over 90 special rebar displays for us and affixed rope lighting as well. They did an amazing job and although we haven't had the funds for many new displays over the years, Randy has come in the past couple of years to repair those displays in need of attention (free of charge). Some of the displays are enormous (and heavy)! The wreath to the right is almost 10' in diameter (200 lbs.?) and shows up nicely with a dark backdrop. We stake up many of our temporary pine trees (with no decorating lights) behind these rebar displays so the colors really pop from the primary viewing angle. We've rotated the displays significantly over the years and typically don't use every one every year. About half of the displays are plant or animal themed. This "rotation" helps make for a different "feel" to the event each year. Marv and Terry positioned almost all the displays this year and again, it looks awesome. We had two gentleman from NBC15 (Madison, WI) here last night as well. Both guys took lots of footage (they were at RBG until 8 pm!) and will be creating a custom commercial for us to promote this event to their viewing audience. I followed around and took photos from some different angles. I love the arches as seen below. The second photo down is taken from the zig-zag bridge (not an approved portion of the route for the HLS though!) and the reflection of the arches and dangling icicles was really neat. Today was a productive day of HLS corrections and modifications, at least before it started to drizzle and rain this afternoon. Larry turned everything on this morning to check over some trouble areas. Marianne came in to work on replacing luminary bulbs and I believe she went thru all 2,000 around the HLS route! Larry had a long list of items to check and I think he solved most of our problems. I'll finish the remainder tomorrow. Bill O. came in to do a little garden clean-up along the HLS route as we like to keep the paths clear of debris so they are ready for snowblowers, shovels, etc. Bill went on to decorate another nine trees that we thought could use some lights. We'll have to re-stake some of the larger trees next week as they continue to lean on their stakes because of their size and consistent winds we've had over the past week or so. I believe we'll have some Grumpies around next week, particularly if the weather is still favorable. Looks like a warm Thanksgiving this year!

Today, we also saw Vern and Jim D. come in for some woodworking. Maury popped in to discuss some projects, Chuck was in to recycle our cans and we saw Tom C., Marge and some others. I was able to start going thru seed catalogs, finished a presentation for our Board meeting tonight, had a meeting and am slowly organizing my 2011 photos by category for future retrieval and usage.

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