Fort Wayne holiday lights have gone green

FORT WAYNE, INDIANA - Fort Wayne's annual Santa and reindeer display has gone green, trading its nearly 25,000 incandescent lights for energy-efficient LED bulbs.

Workers hung the updated display on the National City Bank's north side after switching out Santa and his crew's 24,717 incandescent bulbs with LED versions.

National City Bank President Michael Eikenberry said the new 1-watt bulbs cost about $70,000 but will use 90 percent less electricity than the traditional bulbs.

The LED bulbs also create a brighter display and require less maintenance, said Joe Langmeyer, of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 305.

"They'll last five times as long," he said.

National City, which hosts the annual display along with other sponsors, will sell the old incandescent bulbs to the public as keepsakes, with the money going to charity.

Santa and his reindeer were first hung on the side of Wolf & Dessauer department store in 1940, in a display that at the time was the nation's second-largest such display.

When the department store relocated in 1959 the display went into storage until 1980, when it was dusted off and hung outside National City Bank's Fort Wayne office building.


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