Greogory Mackenzie and Councillor Bob Adams wrap garland around a downtown lamppost.

Nelson Festival of Lights returns

Work is underway to brighten up Baker Street for the winter months.

Work is underway to brighten up Baker Street for the winter months.

Nelson Fire Rescue began installing white LED lights along the skyline of downtown buildings this week, while a small army of Nelson Festival of Lights volunteers got to work decorating lamp posts and tree trunks.

“It’s going to look even better than last year,” said Maureen Crawford, one of organizers of the community-driven initiative to make downtown Nelson appear more festive around the holidays.

Last November the group had coloured lights put up in the large coniferous trees downtown and decorated the posts with lights and ornaments. This year they’re taking it up a notch.

“We thought the lights looked a little bit bare just wrapped on the lampposts, and we heard from a few people that they thought we should add some garland,” Crawford said Wednesday, as she doled out the decorative cords of faux pine to volunteers dressed in safety vests and elf hats who worked in pairs to decorate the poles.

Strings of coloured lights mixed amid the garland and decorations like bows and wreaths will hang from the tops of each post.

The group has been allotted $20,000 from the city’s Spurway Trust Fund — $10,000 this year and the same amount the previous year — to buy the Christmas lights and decorations, which can be used year after year.

All the street level lighting is installed seasonally, while the lights on the building will be in place year round. More than 5,400 feet of lights (360 strings) were needed to run along the tops of every shop on Baker Street. They’ll be set on a timer to come on from dusk until midnight.

Crawford said the white LED lights are inexpensive to run and could add to the ambiance of the street at anytime of year.

“The LED lights work for peanuts — six strings of lights for a month only costs 24 cents for the hydro,” Crawford said.

“I think it would be nice to have them on in the summer, when the tourists are in. They’d be great with all the hanging baskets and things the city does.”

Crews will be working to install the lights throughout the coming week to prepare for Santa coming to Baker Street on December 6, along with the second annual elf walk, during which the lights will all be turned on for the first time.

For details see facebook.com/elfwalk.