Thursday, January 15, 2009

Grand Forks' new Christmas decorations

This past holiday season debuted the city of Grand Forks' new Christmas decorations.  Gone are the days of the tattered old "Christmas bell" lights that used to decorate the city's thoroughfares.  The tinsel-wrapped bells with countless burnt-out light bulbs have been replaced with new LED snowflakes in a bluish-white color.  LED lights were also used on trees throughout the city and in the downtown area.

So, now that the holiday season has drawn to a close, I'm interested to hear what people think of the decorations.  The decorations are still up around the city in case you haven't had a chance to see them.  Actually, that was part of the reason to switch over from an exclusively Christmas theme to a more "winterish" (and non-denominational) snowflake theme...they can be kept up throughout the winter months if desired.

It's interesting to note that, while the city's old program used to include decorations along multiple major streets throughout the city, the new program essentially limits streetlight decorations to the downtown area and along Washington Street and DeMers Avenue.  Perhaps the city will look at expanding into other areas in coming years. I do like that the city has decorated multiple trees throughout town.  There are lights on trees along both North and South Washington and in a couple of spots on Columbia Road.

I have to say that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with LED Christmas lights.  I still appreciate the warmth and glow of "old fashioned" lights over the rather cold look of LED lights.  Also, the city appears to have come across some rather weak LED lights.  I was under the impression that LEDs are usually brighter than traditional lighting.  That appears to be the case with the lights used in the snowflake displays on the city streetlights...they look very bright  However, what's wrong with the light strands used downtown?  The lights on the downtown rooflines and on the trees lining Kittson Avenue/the railroad are exceptionally dim.  In fact, I had to actually point out that the city still had lights on the rooflines to a friend...she hadn't even noticed them on first glance.  The LEDs used downtown are so dim that they are hardily even worth the effort of putting up...the city made a bad purchase in my opinion. I'm also not entirely sure what I think about wrapping those LED rope-lights around the streetlight lampposts on Washington and DeMers.  In a way it looks cool and in a way it looks a little amatuerish.  What do you think?

I'm excited to hear what you have to say about the city's new lighting program.  Was it worth it?  What would you change for next year?

(Image - Pinkdream Photography)

24 comments:

Nancy Devine said...

I'm not a huge fan of Christmas decorations, so I like what I've seen so far around town...not so in-your-face.
For next year, nothing garish. There's so much to look at in this world that the eye needs some time to relax.

Chet said...

I thought the snowflakes looked nice, would like to see the decoration efforts expanded. Also I think the lights might be more dim to lessen the distraction for drivers.

dale said...

I liked the old ones, though the new ones are a nice change.

Elucidarian said...

I like LEDS because they use less energy and last longer. They are also very clear but cool in color, while incandescents look warm. To that effect, even the appearance of warmth is welcome when you get winters like this one.

The lighted trees down Washington look very nice.

The light ropes on poles look very amateurish and need to go.

They had lights along the roof lines downtown?

Kelly Clow said...

When I was up there a few weeks ago, I had to do a double take on the downtown lights. They looked just awful. I thought they were the old lights, but I guess not.

As for the rope lights on the posts, that was a little weird looking at first, but as I saw them more and more over the course of the week, I guess I got used to them. My initial question was "Why the Hell aren't they wrapped all the way up to the top?"

Overall, I think the LEDs on the street decorations are a HUGE improvement. I thought they looked great.

Matthew said...

Um...some of the lights on the rooflines downtown are still incandescent lights--I know the ones on my building are. I didn't know that was a city thing, I thought it was up to the building owners.

Meest said...

LED's are more directional that incandescent lights. So unless you're directly in the beam spread that they have they won't appear as bright.

I also have to admit I haven't even noticed they changed out the roof lining lights.. what streets did they do this on? The old one's were always hit and miss anyway with sometimes every other one burned out.

I like them. I think people are expecting to much from LED's because they don't know the limitations involved with them...

Goon said...

I think this is a waste of money.

Logan said...

At the risk of being a debbie-downer, do we really need to be reminded it's friggin' winter!? Snowflakes?! Come on! Why not yellow stars, or a tropical theme to remind us of warmer times. I guess I just miss the tattered tree and bell motif the city used for so long. And the menards-style rope lighting around the poles needs to be cleaned up, with a wire template or something, they do look amateur with varying spaces between them. As for the roof-lines, I immediately noticed how much dimmer they seem, because I used to love the look the bright strands gave by outlining our downtown skyline.

One more thing, cut down the deformed pine next to the overpass, in it's place build a tall metal structure with variable lights. (I'm picturing a pine tree Eiffel tower)

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