Every year, the members of IBEW Local 38 volunteer their time and services to help light up downtown Cleveland for Winterfest, the city’s holiday kickoff celebration.
The following story – ‘Volunteer work by IBEW Local 38 makes Winterfest Shine’ – was published in the November 2014 edition of The Labor Citizen:
About 75 members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 38 volunteered to spend two weekend days hanging a variety of holiday light displays on buildings, trees and light poles along Euclid Avenue – from Public Square to Playhouse Square – in preparation for the annual Winterfest celebration.
The members of the IBEW have volunteered to hang lights for a number of years, but this year, their assignment changed due to the upcoming renovation of Public Square. The Winterfest events this year – starting Nov. 29 – have shifted to Playhouse Square, said Dennis Meaney, Local 38 Business Manager/Financial Secretary.
“We got a lot done and really had a good time doing it,” Meaney said. “We really had a good group of guys. It was fun to do. We’re also happy to give back to the city and help be a part of its renaissance.”
In total, the members hung lights on about a half mile of Euclid Avenue, which required more than 20,000 lights.
During that process, Cleveland’s downtown revival was evident to the Local 30 members, Meaney said. In year’s past, the streets would be almost empty while they worked, but this year there were “droves of people” on the downtown streets.
And thousands more are expected to enjoy the upcoming Winterfest activities, but most will have no idea what went into the lighting effort, much less that the work was all done for free. But Meaney said his members have received some accolades.
“It’s true most people don’t realize what we’re giving up to do this, and we won’t get a lot of recognition,” he said. “But most of the businesses downtown know. Some of them provided us with food and said they really appreciated what we were doing to help attract people downtown. That really does make you feel good.”
Winterfest 2014 is coordinated by the Downtown Cleveland Alliance. Lisa Krieger, director of events and internal operations, stressed that the alliance works hard to make sure all their partners receive the recognition they deserve.
She added that the members of IBEW Local 38 who volunteer are great to work with.
“I’ve seen a lot of the same faces each year and they really do some impressive work,” Krieger said. “I’ve told a lot of people that our experience working with Local 38 has been exceptional.”