(Alexandria, MN)  The city streets of Alexandria are a section of Americana that draws people in each year.  This time of year when you add beautiful Christmas decorations you swear Norman Rockwell drew it up.  For nearly four decades someone who has played an integral part of making sure the tradition goes on is about to retire.  John Stanz works for the city of Alexandria.  He loves his job during this time of year; enough that his co-workers call him "Mr. Christmas Lights."

VOA's Joe Korkowski talks with John about getting Alexandria ready for Christmas (VIDEO BELOW):

John is planning on retiring from the city on December 6th.  His wife told him that now that he's 66 he should take it easy for a change.  He says at times it sounds great, but he also admits he loves his job. 

As a special tribute to his many years of helping to light up Alexandria, John is being asked to "flip the switch" on Friday, November 29th during the annual Christmas in the Fort event.  At 5:00pm he will trigger the ceremonious lighting of the lights he has vigorously checked each year for 37 years.  He says he's excited about the newer lights that have been purchased for this year and next year.  The LED lights, he says, are much more energy efficient and they'll last so much longer than the old kind.

The City of Alexandria and ALP Utilities crews have been partners in stringing the Christmas lights for many years.  John says they will be lit each night during the holidays until they are reluctantly put away following new Years Day.