4,700 LED bulbs make up Indiana state capital’s Christmas tree

INDIANAPOLIS – It won’t be long before Indiana’s biggest Christmas tree lights up the night, and a Greenfield electrician joined those who make it happen.

Some 200 electricians, members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers No. 481, gathered on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis on Saturday to turn the 285-foot Soldiers & Sailors Monument into the state capital’s largest Christmas tree.

Greenfield resident Steve Menser, IBEW No. 481 business manager, represented the more than 3,000 members of the union during a ceremony to honor the veterans among its ranks.

The union has been the one organization to install and remove the 4,700 lights that stretch from the top of the monument and outward to the bottom, creating the Christmas tree effect, since the inception of the Circle of Lights tradition 55 years ago, according to a news release.

Saturday’s event came off without a hitch, Menser said. The team kicked off the volunteer work at 8 a.m., and by 1 p.m., the stone monument was ready to serve as the circle’s Christmastime centerpiece, he said.

All of the lights on the 52 strands of garland are new this year, as officials chose to light the monument with LED lights for the first time. The new LED lights mark the first purchase funded by Keeping Spirits Bright, a campaign with a goal of raising $2 million to keep the Circle of Lights tradition alive, according to a news release.

The purchase of the new lights is just the first part of what’s to come for the campaign, which aims to replace aging equipment and decor used each year.

The Circle of Lights event, during which the “tree” is lit with the flick of a switch, is slated for 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 24 on Monument Circle. More than 100,000 spectators are expected to view the evening’s performances and the ceremonial tree lighting.

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Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.