But while mesmerized by the lights, decorations and holiday cheer, few visitors consider the amount of work required to bring this sparkling event to life. And while some might shake their heads in awe and say “man, I’d hate to have to string all these lights,” the job is far more demanding than most can imagine. In fact, the city’s Department of Streets and Grounds begins the work eight weeks in advance of the Saturday evening before Thanksgiving when the lights traditionally blaze to life for the first time. During those preceding weeks, the department’s dedicated staff not only string the fresh-from-the-box lights, they also adorn the city’s Victorian light posts with red ribbons and freshly-fluffed wreaths, place evergreen garlands on public buildings, decorate more than a dozen giant oaks as well as the city’s Christmas tree, a 25-foot fir from Sugar Mountain, North Carolina. Placed in the Plaza de la Constitucion, the tree is the centerpiece of the Nights of Lights and the backdrop for tens of thousands of family holiday photos.