Anyone who has ever searched through a string of Christmas lights looking for burned-out bulbs realizes it can be a frustrating and time-consuming task. It becomes a more important task when those lights and ornaments will be displayed above First Avenue, one of Jamestown's busiest streets.
That is where the Jamestown Downtown Association steps in and holds a "light bulb party," according to Lynn Lambrecht, president of the Downtown Association.
The light bulb party is usually held in late October in the city's storage building.
"We plug them in and replace any burned out bulbs," Lambrecht said. "Then the street department is nice enough to hang them for us."
Some of the decorations are old enough to require special light bulbs that have to be ordered for the displays, she said.
Matt Schafer, traffic maintenance technician for the Jamestown Street Department, said the decorations are displayed before Thanksgiving although the exact date varies depending on the department's workload and the weather.
Hanging the decorations takes a crew about eight hours, Schafer said.
"We do it over two days early in the morning," he said. "That way we can avoid the heaviest traffic."
Schafer speculated that some of the ornaments were possibly older than some of the crew that helps hang them each year.
"Honestly, I couldn't say but some are fairly old," he said.
The costs for keeping the decorations looking festive are covered by the Jamestown Downtown Association using proceeds from the Holiday Dazzle Parade, Lambrecht said. The Downtown Association has also purchased rope lights and any of the other decorations that appear along Jamestown's First Avenue.
The decorations remain in place through the holiday season, Schafer said.
"Weather permitting, we take them down sometime in the middle of January," he said.
For Schafer, it is a change from his day-to-day tasks with the Jamestown Street Department.
"It is a break from traffic signals and street signs," he said. "It is a little something different to do."
Lambrecht said the holiday in Jamestown wouldn't be complete without the downtown decorations.
"It feels empty without them when they come down," she said. "It looks sad without them."