Jim begins putting hundreds of bulbs in the “Warren Wishes You” sign. Photo by Piper VanOrd.

The Team Behind the Sign

November 29, 2022

by Piper VanOrd
Ever since I was little, I can remember the “Warren Wishes You Merry Christmas Happy New Year” sign magically appearing after Thanksgiving. Lit up in red on the banks of the Allegheny River in downtown Warren, as a child I always envisioned elves scurrying around in the night, building it piece by piece right there on the spot. Today I finally got to see who makes the magic happen and it turns out – it’s way cooler.

I spent the morning with the Warren Wrestling Team – fifteen teenagers and their two coaches – and helped as each of the 39 aluminum frame letters was unloaded. They were much larger up close than I anticipated, roughly 10-11′ tall, and fortunately, way lighter than I’d thought, too.

Once unloaded, the real fun began. At the direction of Shawn from the City of Warren, a starting point was picked, and the letter hunt began. It’s really something to watch huge 11′ letters being moved in all directions, one wrestler on each side carrying them. “Anyone seen an H?” and, “I know where there’s an S! Over here!” were both heard as the words started coming together. A little over an hour after they began, the Warren Wrestling Team had completed their job. Well done, guys!

But the story of the sign being lit doesn’t end there. Unloaded and upright, a stake is then put in the ground at each letter and fastened to the aluminum pole by a screw. This is all done by Shawn, who’s worked at the City of Warren, and on the “Warren Wishes You” sign, for more than 20 years. He then adds a stake in-between each letter and fastens them, too . . .

The full story can be seen on the Explore Downtown Warren website.

      

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