Holiday Lights in the Park organizers host intense hiring so the show can go on

Local

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — How long do you think it would take you to change one million light blubs? Albany Police Athletic League Executive Director Lenny Ricchiuti says he and his crew will have seven weeks, at best. They’re already in crunch time to prepare for Capital Region Holiday Lights in the Park.

“It’s going to take us 25 days just to unload [the displays]. That only leaves us another 25 days or less to power them up, to add the animation, to what do you have to do every Christmas at your house once you put your lights up? You have to check them, make sure they work, right?” he explains.

Ricchiuti showed NEWS10 on Friday the massive light arrangements packed into a semi trailer and there are five more truckloads just like it waiting to be unloaded. For that they need all hands on deck, but the labor shortage has made finding both volunteers and qualified electricians a challenge. Luckily, Ricchiuti says between recent media coverage and PAL’s own recruitment efforts, calls have been flooding in for the event’s 25th anniversary.

“What we’ve been getting from a lot of folks, that they’ve been coming for years, that they this, they that. I’ve gotten some emails from folks saying hey, we got engaged at the bridge during lights in the park in the carriage ride, and my husband wants to come work or how can I help with the show,” Ricchiuti explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

On top of their seasoned regulars, there were about a dozen open positions. Ricchiuti says they believe they have enough applicants to formally pick people by Saturday. It’s just in time — if set up doesn’t start promptly on Monday, he says there might not be a show at all.

Ricchiuti says now he’s confident not only will they have the hands they need, a few might even stay to keep the beloved tradition going.

“I have no doubt that out of this group of new folks that come on board this year, will pick up some new regulars that next year, wherever we may be, they are going to show up and help us make it happen for the Capital Region,” he says.

Ricchiuti reminds everyone there will be an entrance by reservation only policy this year and light displays will be removed from around the Washington Park playground and dog park.

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