An article in today’s Journal Gazette might explain why the displays have been so late in going up this year.  It seems that they indeed have switched to LED bulbs and are still waiting for the Christmas Wreath’s new bulbs to arrive.  Again, the article was in today’s Journal Gazette and written by Jenni Glenn:

The English, Bonter, Mitchell Foundation announced Monday afternoon it has donated about $70,000 to buy energy-efficient bulbs to illuminate Santa and his reindeer on the north side of the National City Center. The foundation also will take responsibility for preserving the display from National City Corp., area bank president Michael Eikenberry said Monday. The bank, which administers the foundation, will remain a sponsor, he said.

Local electricians and apprentices have volunteered to switch the display’s 24,717 lights to LED bulbs. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 305 members and apprentices studying to become electricians had replaced all the bulbs in Santa’s sleigh and were starting work on the reindeer Monday afternoon. The job will take about 400 man-hours and could be finished as soon as today, said Joe Lengmeyer, the union’s business manager.

LED bulbs use 90 percent less electricity than conventional bulbs, Eikenberry said. Santa’s LED bulbs will use 25,000 watts of electricity an hour. When conventional bulbs lit the display, it used 250,000 watts an hour, he said. The change will significantly reduce the display’s operating costs, which Eikenberry declined to disclose.

[…] National City was replacing 5,000 to 6,000 bulbs each year, and replacements were becoming difficult to find. The bulbs being removed from the display will be sold to raise money for charity, he said.

The LED lights shine brighter than conventional bulbs and might appear more vibrant to the crowds gathered for the annual Thanksgiving Eve lighting ceremony, Eikenberry said. Sponsors purchased soft white bulbs to avoid a harsh look, however, he said.

Santa isn’t the only downtown holiday lighting display switching to the environmentally friendly lights. Indiana Michigan Power plans to swap the 8,000 bulbs in One Summit Square’s giant wreath for LED lights this year, said Suzanne Moorman Rowe, I&M’s general manager of communications and community relations.

The utility is waiting for the LED bulbs it ordered to arrive. I&M also expects to use LED lights to decorate the courtyard outside its office. She did not know the display’s cost.

The wreath and the Santa light displays were made for former downtown department store Wolf & Dessauer’s holiday display. The Santa lights were unveiled in 1940, Eikenberry said.

Previous AFW Photos:
Santa’s Finally In Town 

Related news on the web:
Downtown “Santa and his sleigh” display is going ‘green’News Sentinel
Fort Wayne Santa Goes GreenWANE-TV
Santa Goes Green – Indiana News Center

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