It's time for the "Warren Wishes You Merry Christmas Happy New Year" sign to go up again, and the organizers need some help from the community.
Warren City Council member Jim Zavinski said on Monday that anyone willing to help set up the sign should meet at Crescent Park at 10 a.m. Friday.
Warren Department of Public Works personnel are digging the sign out of storage and the electricity for the sign is ready to go, Zavinski said.
Times Observer file photo
Volunteers erect the Warren Wishes You Merry Christmas Happy New Year sign last year. Plans are for volunteers to do it again at 10 a.m. Friday.
Now comes the hard part - screwing in approximately 1,500 light bulbs to illuminate the sign that stretches along the southern bank of the Allegheny River in downtown Warren.
"It takes longer to screw in that many bulbs than it does to actually set it up," Zavinski said.
The old wooden and red electric sign built by the Warren Jaycees in the late 1940s was replaced last year with a new electric sign. The previous sign had fallen into disrepair over the years.
"It was really bad; they never had a place to store it," Zavinski said.
2010 was one of the few times the Christmas sign had not been put up.
Zavinski, fellow council member Howard Ferguson, James Zavinski Jr., Nancy Siggins and Ronda Narlie formed an ad hoc committee to solicit funds and replace the old sign, which Ferguson said was in such disrepair, "basically having a sign wasn't going to happen anymore."
Zavinski worked with Sturdevant Sign Co. to design the new sign, which can be installed easily and by fewer people. Each of the letters is eight feet tall and made of aluminum with all new wiring and sockets.
"I think it will continue on for now," Zavinski said last year. "It should go up really easy and be really easy to maintain."
City Council accepted the sign as a gift last year and had been storing it at the city's Department of Public Works building.
"I just thought it was a great thing," Ferguson said last year of first seeing the sign when he moved to Warren in the late 1960s.
"When it was gone, I think there were many people that wished it was there," he said.