Bringing a dose of holiday cheer to Warren this winter is a duty once again falling to the volunteer efforts of the community, but it is coming closer to realization.
After last year’s notable absence of the familiar light-up snowflakes downtown, replaced with evergreen swags adorning the lightpoles, this year is shaping up to feature a collaboration between the two ornaments.
One thing that will remain the same is who deserves the credit: the community.
According to Warren Main Street President Dan Ristau, he has been in contact with City Councilman James Zavinski and the pair are well on their way to ensuring downtown Warren won’t lack for festive atmosphere this holiday season.
Zavinski has been working to raise money and refurbish the snowflakes for use again this year and is making some headway in the effort.
He has so far secured a handful of donations to help with painting and rewiring lights on the snowflakes, though he is working to find more funds. Ristau said Main Street is planning on providing a donation. Donations can be made out to the holiday lighting fund and dropped off at the city building.
“We’d like to thank the city for all the work they’ve put in to try to find a solution to this,” Ristau said.
He’s also worked with the city to find a bracket to hang the ornaments that will fit the downtown light poles without damaging them.
“It’s moving along,” said Zavinski’s wife Frankie. “We’ve asked some other places for donations and we’re waiting to see what they say. Jim’s working on the snowflakes. It should make the downtown look very nice.”
“Warren Main Street and the downtown businesses really appreciate the efforts of Mr. Zavinski,” Ristau said. “He’s doing the bulk of the work. Jim’s been back and forth to the city trying to find a bracket that will work to anchor the snowflakes. He’s eventually had to have something custom made. He’s done a lot of legwork on this in addition to painting and wiring lights.”
According to Ristau, Zavinski is working to refurbish approximately 30 snowflakes for placement downtown. The snowflakes are approximately 25 years-old and have been sitting in storage.
“All these years, now we’ve decided to revamp them,” Zavinski said.
Ristau, meanwhile, is planning on once again working with volunteers to provide evergreen swags, which will be interspersed with the snowflakes downtown. Additionally, the swags will be placed on the poles leading across the Hickory Street Bridge, as a bracket system capable of safely supporting the snowflakes in that area is unavailable.
“When it comes to the swags, I’ll be taking over,” Ristau said. “Last year, we put the swags all downtown and he (Zavinski) hung wreaths on the bridge. This year, we’re putting swags on the bridge. It’s something a little bit different. The city will be hanging them for us.”
According to Zavinski, the poles on the bridge will feature lights, but not the snowflakes. The snowflakes will alternate, every other lightpost, on Pennsylvania Ave. and possibly Second Avenue.
“We’re on schedule,” Zavinski said, noting he hopes to have the lights up for Thanksgiving.
Overall, the effort is a tribute to volunteerism, according to Ristau.
“When the city, or anybody, comes forward with a need, the community of Warren always comes forward with a solution,” he said. “It all comes down to community.”