November 14, 2004
Michele Thompson knelt in the flower beds at the Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mesa and, using twist-ties, secured strings of red Christmas lights to flower arrangements.
"It really kind of gets our family in the Christmas spirit," the Mesa resident said about volunteering to put up Christmas lights.
Thompson, her husband, Doug, and their two children were four of about 40 volunteers who worked Saturday morning to complete pieces of a massive light display at the Temple.
Other volunteers wound strings of white lights around metal gazebos, while a few used cherry-picker machines to reach the tallest branches of trees and wrap them in strings of lights.
"It’s a beautiful display and we like coming here," Doug Thompson said. "It’s kind of special to be part of something like it."
When it opens at 6 p.m. on Nov. 26, the display will have 750,000 lights in place, said event spokeswoman Camille Taylor. Volunteers started working in October and, by the opening, about 10,000 volunteer hours will have gone into entwining the strings of lights into the gardens surround the Temple Visitor Center, Taylor said.
"We get close to a million visitors," she said. "It’s really a place people can come and feel peace and feel happiness."
The display, the largest ever for the Temple, will be lighted at about 5:30 p.m. each day until Dec. 31. Local groups will perform half-hour music concerts each night at 7 p.m. The Temple’s Visitor Center will stay open until 10 p.m. during the holidays.
The event at 525 E. Main St. in Mesa is free. For information, call the Temple Visitor Center at (480) 964-7164.