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Holiday Lights: Tradition Costs

Labor of holiday lights tradition in Monroe County takes months of preparation and the fiscal planning an entire year.

The labor takes months of preparation and the fiscal planning an entire year. It takes several hours and patience to light up Bloomington around the holidays. It’s hard not to notice the holiday lights which cover the courthouse square in Bloomington each December.

Both community organizations and the county are responsible for the display, which Bloomington, Inc. Executive Director Talisha Coppock says costs about $4,000 by itself. The rest of the county-sponsored lights cost about $5,000 to put up and maintain.

But Coppock says it’s a small price to pay to help revitalize downtown Bloomington. “It’s been over 25 years of working to bring businesses in creating special events we work with a lot of volunteers to bring vibrancy into our downtown area,” she said.

Jim Murphy, President of CFC Properties, says the job can be tedious at times, because crews individually wrap each light string around branches of the trees and it’s very involved. “Every three years we remove all of the lights off of the trees and reinstall new lights. If you were to put them end to end would be 28 miles in length.”

Crews begin the readying for the holiday display of lights in July, and the budget for it has to be prepped at the beginning of the year. Iris Kiesling, Monroe County Commissioner, says that it’s important to begin planning early for the event. “We put some money aside at the beginning of the year, and our staff has been very good and setting priorities,” she says.

County Engineers say the display as a whole consists of more than 200,000 individual light bulbs, which use 43,000 watts of power.

Shameka Neely

Shameka Neely, a native of Nashville, Tennessee enthusiastically joined WTIU as Senior Reporter/ InFocus Producer in the news department. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational and Corporate Communication, with a minor in Marketing and Masters of Arts Degrees' in Administrative Dynamics and Communication all from Western Kentucky University. Shameka also holds a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from Indiana University.

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