The warm glow of Christmas lights in downtown Salt Lake City seems to brighten up both the streets and the moods of otherwise inversion grumpy Scrooges. How is that seemingly overnight millions of lights just magically appear? Children might believe it’s Santa’s elves busy at work, but Eric Crowther knows the true answer.
Eric has worked the past five years to make the streets of Salt Lake enchanting.
This year he and his crew of off-season roofers and landscapers strung approximately 14 miles of lights on Main Street from 4th South to City Creek and also along 2nd South, State Street and West Temple. He uses LED lights instead of the incandescent lights of years past. He did a cost analysis for the city and showed they were cheaper, longer lasting and use less energy. The lights he uses can shine for about 8 hours a day and the cost for one month in electricity will be about $110.
Besides the city streets Eric decorates for downtown businesses, he festoons the large trees in front of Squatters and they leave the lights up all year. He has done light motifs for street lamps by the University of Utah with the drum and feather symbol and the Ski Utah and Ride Utah logos. He also contracts to do residences.
So how did he get started? “I guess I have always been a kid at heart and Christmas lights are kind of magical, I remember as a kid making a cardboard box fort and putting Christmas lights inside. So when I started hearing from kids and adults alike how beautiful the lights looked, I guess that was it for me — it gives you a good feeling,” Eric says.
He has overseas contacts with lighting manufacturers, so to supplement his income he has an online business: EZsalesLighting.com, to sell such products. Aside from his online setup he likes the idea of having a seasonal business. It gives him time to travel the world with his wife.
As Eric talks about lighting the city, his enthusiasm is palpable. It’s more than just a job for him. “I have a large tree and I used to put two cases of lights on it. All the neighborhood kids would just come and stand under it and look in awe as the tree refracted the light onto the street below.” For Eric, this awe casts its own light.