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Winter Work: How Public Service Helps the City Shine Bright through the Holidays 
Layers. That’s the secret to enduring outdoor work in cold weather with the City’s fall and Christmas in the City events. Just like City staffers’ wardrobe strategy, there are many layers involved in making these public events successful. City employees play a direct role in 20 events during the holidays, in addition to supporting nearly 100 events by other organizations.

This "Winter Work" blog series highlights a handful of employees that help bring the magic of the holidays to Knoxville.

Cody Foster

Position: Equipment Operator II
With the City since: 2014

A large part of downtown’s holiday magic happens when more than 100,000 lights shine in the night. It may feel like magic, but Public Service workers - including Cody Foster - spend two weeks putting up the lights up.

“Yeah, it can get pretty cold when we’re installing lights - and especially when we’re taking them down in January,” Foster said. “But we’re provided with work clothes that allow us to adjust with the day-to-day weather.”

It takes 10 days to fully assemble the 42-foot tree on display in the Krutch Park extension at Gay Street - a day to first construct the tree’s frame, and then the “devil is in the decorating details.”

“It’s intricate work, but we get a lot of positive comments along the way,” said Foster. “It’s fun to help bring in the holiday season.”

This year, Foster and several other Public Service workers had the tree topper hoisted from the ground and installed within a few minutes - quite the feat, as winds caused it to swing as it was guided to its perch. 

Work doesn’t stop for the crew after everything’s installed. Mischievous squirrels chew wires, and people whom Foster calls “Bah Humbug folk” knock down lights, requiring the occasional replacement.

“It’s a nice change of pace to install the tree and lights, and I love seeing people’s positive reactions when they realize what we’re doing,” Foster said. And even throughout the holiday season, the crew continues to do its routine work of brush and trash collection.

Knoxville's lights will be turned on at the Celebration of Lights on Friday, Nov. 23, at 6 p.m. in the Krutch Park extension. For more information on Knoxville's Christmas in the City events, visit www.knoxvilletn.gov/Christmas.
Posted by On 19 November, 2018 at 4:32 PM