Maybe there’s 12,000 lights on the holiday tree in Esther Short Park. Maybe 20,000. In any case, after the ceremonial flipping of the switch Nov. 29, the tree will glow as a beacon of holiday spirit.
The Rotary Club of Vancouver kicks off its annual Community Tree Lighting celebration at 4 p.m. The event culminates at 6 p.m. with Santa’s arrival and the illumination of the tree.
Rotary’s official press release says the tree is strung with 12,000 lights. But who’s counting?
Not Jeff St. Mary. He and his company, now part of All Clean! SoftWash, have been stringing the lights for the past 14 years. Over that time, the tree has grown from about 75 to 90 feet tall. The job has literally become bigger every year.
A lot of the work takes place behind the scenes, including sorting lights and replacing broken and burnt-out bulbs — but not counting, St. Mary said. He estimates that it takes 20,000 lights to cover the tree. His crew wraps the strings of lights around each branch so wind won’t cause so much rustling that it snaps them.