Thank you for participating in The Greenbelt in Lights. In an effort to make your displays last as long as possible and remain mostly maintenance free on your part, we have compiled a guide of helpful hints to give you an edge when setting up!
IDENTIFYING YOUR LIGHTS
As you can see in the picture above, most Christmas lights are either Incandescent or LED. They came in a variety of bulb sizes and shapes, but can be traced back to these two types. Incandescent lights are pretty standard light bulbs. They take the most power, and also tend to burn out quickly from prolonged use. They are cheap so you can buy a lot of replacement strings. LED tend to be brighter, more colorful and last 50 to 100 times longer than incandescent. They are a bit more expensive but they take up less power and are more durable to the elements.
The above rule is only for incandescent lights, not LED. LED Lights can be strung up in many cases 10 strands or more.
PROTECTING YOUR LIGHTS FROM WATER
It is a guarantee that your display is going to get wet so take every precaution you can to make sure water does to wiggle its way in and cause short out all your hard work.
TAPING UP YOUR PLUGS AND CONNECTION DOES NOT WORK!
As you can see above, there are a number of commercial products to help keep water out of plugs, extension cords, and connections. You can find these easily at Gap Lumber, Amazon, Walmart, and Lowes. It is highly recommended you protect your lights in some way from water. There are a few DIY ways to do this as well:
Our favorite way to protect cord connections is a simple $1 bucket from dollar tree with two holes drilled near the top in it:
You can use silicone caulking to waterproof your connections or silicone self adhering tape. Other types of tape or caulking will not work.
SUGGESTIONS FROM YEARS OF EXPERIENCE
The following list has been compiled from people who have been celebrating the Greenbelt in Lights for years! It is not meant to be a rulebook, just a helpful guideline of some pitfalls to avoid and make sure your displays are intact at the end and ready to use again next year!
- You have to waterproof your displays and connections. TAPING THE CONNECTIONS WITH BLACK TAPE DOES NOT WORK! Take the time to fully water proof all connections going to your display so that You and P&R are not constantly resetting poles, and drying out connectors.
- If you are doing tunnels or anything overhead, make sure you have 8 foot of clearance on the sides before the top of the tunnel starts to curve to the top. This is so the rides and trailers can come through. We have seen small tunnels get torn down because they are too small to fit the ride through.
- If you use inflatables, double and triple check that they are secured. Usually the cheap plastic stakes that come with them are insufficient to hold them down in December storm winds. Use landscape stakes from Gap Lumber and BSG Farm & Garden or make your own from Rebar or stiff wire (coat hangers bent in a v work in a pinch).
- Think BIG over small with your decorations. Remember, the vast majority of views will be on the back of a hay ride going about 8 miles an hour. The bigger your display the easier it is to view and be enjoyed. Also, using small what nots, trinkets, or other small items are asking for them to go missing.
- If you display does have small items in it, make sure they are secured ant not easily removed. A long piece of rebar and bailing wire goes a long way to keeping sticky fingers from walking off with items.
- Be mindful when placing spot lights. Try to avoid putting spot lights or lights near the path. I have seen several broken as people accidently stomp or trip over them.
- When assigned a pole, you do not have to set up directly beside or on the pole. Feel free to use the area between the next pole to space out. Avoid having you and your neighbor bunched up on one pole together and diminishing the overall impact. Stand out and show of the beauty of your hard work!
- Check on your displays periodically. Take pride in your work, come and check on your beautiful displays every now and then and if you need help, call the Town for reinforcements. It is very sad the number of displays that have remained dark because of simple issues that we could help with.
- The rides start at the Visitor Center and head to Bullitt Park so make sure if you want your display to be seen, you angle it in that direction for maximum viewability.
- HAVE FUN! We want you to celebrate and have fun with your displays and if you need help, we are here for you!