The Estate Whim Museum knows how to throw a Christmas party, even when its main attraction fails to show up. That’s right – $5,000 worth of LED lights donated by the Home Depot Foundation didn’t make it in time for the party – but that didn’t seem to deter anyone Wednesday night.
Over 150 people danced, ate, and caroled the night away at the annual St. Croix Landmarks Society’s “Old Time Crucian Christmas party.”
The LED lighting display was supposed to be such a hit that the V.I. Department of Energy, Water and Power Authority, and the Landmarks Society even held a press conference last week informing the public about the display that native Crucian and HGTV Design Star contestant H. Alex Sanchez designed.
Apparently, the huge shipment of lights got “bumped” off the airline. Many of the details couldn’t be confirmed about who was responsible for the lights being delayed, but Landmark Society’s Sparkle Gonsalves did say that they would be getting the shipment by tomorrow morning.
“We did all we could, but the lights apparently got bumped off the airline,” Gonsalves said. “Alex did the best he could and went to Home Depot to get the lights you see here tonight – which are LED lights, but it seems to be a logistics problem.”
Logistic problem or not, the grounds still sparkled and shined with Sanchez’s magic, and the small amount of LED lights that they did decorate with gave a hint for what Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights might bring.
Sanchez, who was rushing around before the party trying to get the walkway lit, said that he planned to come back Thursday to finish his design.
“I’m planning on coming back tomorrow when the lights are here, so that we can set up the lights the way their supposed to look,” Sanchez said.
The walkway to the parking lot was brilliantly designed to look like icicles were draping down, and the path to the museum looked almost like a radiant bridge made of ice.
“I just love the lights, it’s absolutely beautiful – almost angelic looking,” volunteer Nancy Ayer said.
Lily Alvarez, who has worked with the Landmarks for over 25 years, was disappointed that the lights didn’t make it, but said that Sanchez still made it look fabulous.
“I think it still turned out to be beautiful, and I hope the community takes advantage of the lights and Christmas display over the next three days because it will truly be a place where kids can go and enjoy,” Alvarez said.
The museum itself was adorned with holiday decorations. Over the doorway leading into the “bedroom,” there are two huge handmade Moko Jumbies that Sanchez designed, and a traditional Crucian Inkberry Christmas tree that Hans Lawaetz donated, which was decked out with Moko Jumbie ornaments.
“My grandfather came here in 1890, and since 1902, our family has been celebrating with the Inkberry tree,” Lawaetz said.
Thursday through Saturday night, Whim will be able to show off the full display, which will be resplendent with over 2500 LED lights on the grounds. During the press conference held Dec. 9, WAPA spokeswoman Cassandra Dunn gave a cost analysis for how much energy will be saved using the LED lights.
“With 2,200 lights, burning six hours a day for a 30-day period, with the old kind of lighting it would cost $375, but Whim will soon find out these 2,200 [LED] lights will cost about $80,” Dunn said.
WAPA donated $1,760, allowing approximately 300 people to visit the museum for free, waiving the discounted $5 entrance fee.
The St. Croix Landmarks Society, WAPA, and the V.I. Energy Office is using the LED lighting display to also push the “VIenergize Your Holiday” campaign, which is part of the Energy Development in Island Nations (EDIN) USVI initiative to cut fossil fuel consumption by 60 percent by 2025.
Residents can VIenergize their holidays by doing the following:
- Use mini-lights for home and tree decorating, which use up to 70 percent less energy than the larger bulbs and last 65 percent longer.
- LED holiday lights are even better. A 150-bulb set of LED bulbs at 2 watts per set consumes 99 percent less energy than a typical bulb set and can last up to 200,000 hours.
- Battery-operated holiday lights are also a very good energy-saving idea.
- Using timers to reliably turn off holiday lights when no one is around to enjoy them can further reduce energy costs. When retiring for the evening, reduce costs and increase safety by unplugging all lights at the wall outlet.
- For outside lighting, install a motion sensor that turns lights on automatically when somebody walks up, and turns them off automatically after one to five minutes. Use mirrors or tinsel around indoor lights to heighten their effect.
- Always purchase Energy Star-labeled products for holiday decorating and for gift giving.
- When doing holiday cooking, use a microwave oven as often as possible. Microwave ovens use up to 75 percent less energy than conventional ovens.
- When using conventional ovens, don’t open the door to peek at what’s cooking as that lowers the temperature inside, increases cooking time, and wastes energy.
- Keep refrigerators and freezers well stocked. A full refrigerator or freezer saves energy by reducing the recovery time when the door is opened. If the refrigerator or freezer is only partially full, store one gallon bottles of water to help keep the temperature regulated.
Further information about the EDIN-USVI energy revolution and how you can be part of the solution can be obtained at www.edin.org.usvi/html.