MADISON — What’s another way to measure 25,000 decorative lights?
They measure more than three miles in length when stretched out, according to Ryan Duques, chairman Madison’s Economic Development Commission.
All those lights are being installed on 38 trees downtown, as part of an initiative meant to draw visitors to Madison despite the COVID-19 pandemic and also to brighten people’s spirits during the winter months.
The display is supported by EDC funds normally used for tourism purposes, which had gone unspent this year due to the pandemic.
It will be completed by Thanksgiving and remain in place through the end of January, Duques said.
“The Economic Development Commission was looking at this opportunity as a way to certainly illuminate our commercial district, to kind of light up our downtown, and to really brighten … the psyche of business owners and residents during this ... challenging year,” Duques said.
While Duques hopes the project will draw visitors to Madison’s downtown businesses, he noted that one important element of the initiative itself is that it is “not impacted by the changing [COVID-19] restrictions.”
The town in September put out a request for proposals for the project, dubbed “Light Up Madison.”
Waterford-based lighting service Power Posse Productions and Stonington-based event planning business A Gala Affair won the bid, according to Duques, who said the two businesses will work together to create the display.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Deborah Dempsey, who owns A Gala Affair. “They’re really trying to bring everyone out, and give them a sense of community and bring light during these very troubled times.”
Dempsey said she hopes the project will make Madison look like “a winter wonderland.”
Larry Stewart, general manager of Power Posse Productions, said that while his business has done large-scale light displays in the past, this is the first time they’re doing one in a public downtown area.
This one’s sort of unique in the fact that it’s downtown and it’s open to the public,” he said. “The trees on Wall Street are beautiful … [they] really pop with the lights down.”
But the display goes beyond even the thousands of lights the two businesses are installing, with the EDC encouraging businesses, organizations and residents to help brighten Madison by creating their own displays or sponsoring others.
The Madison Beach Hotel already agreed to fund a light display at the library, according to Duques.
John Mathers, who manages the hotel, could not be reached for comment.
Those interested in sponsoring project add-on displays can contact Eileen Banisch, director of the Chamber of Commerce, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-245-7394. They also may reach out to Town Planner David Anderson at email@example.com or 203-245-5633.