Today’s iconic Christmas tree isn’t exactly a tree, though at 242 feet tall, it makes the spruce in Rockefeller Center look like a seasonal lightweight in comparison.
The Monument Circle Christmas Lighting–also called the Indy Circle of Lights–is actually a creatively-decorated monument to soldiers and sailors in downtown Indianapolis. The 2012 Circle of Lights marked the tree’s 50th anniversary gracing the Indy downtown area with seasonal magic.
Every year, volunteers from the Contractors of Quality Connection and Electrical Workers string lights from the top of the monument to the ground, giving it the festive shape and sparkle of an actual Christmas tree.
The specs on this year’s tree are impressive: 52 strands of garland frame the 242-foot, 6-inch monument, and strands of lights add to the look, for a grand total of some 4,784 lights.
The lighting of the Circle of Lights is the high spot for many Indy residents during the Christmas season–around 100,000 people usually turn out in the square to watch Santa flip the lights on. And the atmosphere of the ceremony adds to the season’s magic. Kids enjoy dropping their letters to Santa in a mailbox for missives destined immediately for the North Pole.
Grown-ups love the music and festive mood surrounding the lighting, and they just might find a bit of the child in themselves as they walk around the giant peppermint sticks and toy soldiers that circle the monument.