Local Spotlight

The Light Magician

Lights on at 5 pm, cameras click by the thousands!


At Temple Square in December, the Lights go on at 5 pm, the Cameras click by the thousands…but the Action begins in August.

During the heat of summer, crews are out positioning the gadjillion (one followed by a whole lotta zeroes) lights that dazzle the Salt Lake City night at this time of year. Overseeing this enterprise for the past seven years has been Eldon Cannon of Lehi. Cannon jokingly said that at home, his wife is in charge of holiday decorating. But at Temple Square, as manager of ground services, he is the person coordinating the fifty full-time employees and hundreds of volunteers who assist with the set-up. Cannon did not start life as a lighting wizard. He was trained in horticulture at BYU and his joy of being outdoors allowed him to evolve into his holiday calling.

The lights (mostly LED) one sees this year are an accumulation of decades of prior effort and a few “aha” moments, such as placing the nativity scene in the middle of the reflecting pool. One of Cannon’s great joys is to walk around at night and listen to peoples’ comments. He is especially heartened by the way families can come here and focus on what is important in life. “We do this display because we believe in the Message – just be brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors and be kind to each other.”

This is the true light of the Temple Square night!


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