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Ford City prepares for Light-up Night

| Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, 1:06 a.m.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Paul Klukan hand forges one of several Christmas ornaments that are sold as memorials to help pay for the holiday street lights. Monday October 28, 2013

FORD CITY — A transformation of Ford Street, Ford City Park and nearby sections of Fourth and Fifth avenues will soon be under way as the Ford City Renaissance Community Partnership readies the town for Nov. 30 and its “Fantasy of Lights” Light-up Night.

For weeks, FCRCP Committee Co-Chairman Paul Klukan of North Buffalo and member Mike Luke of Kittanning have been working as hard as Santa's elves preparing to light up the night by creating large-scale trumpeting angel and candle decorations.

And even though that portion of the work may be done, Klukan is hoping other volunteers step forward to hang the decorations during the two preceding Sundays (Nov. 17 and 24) leading up to the Fantasy of Lights. Helpers are needed the day of the event from 3 to 8 p.m.

Klukan and Luke have made four 8-foot angels, 11 smaller angels measuring 5-feet tall and one 5-foot holly-adorned candle to add to last year's 11 other seasonal candles.

And the pay off?

“I'm doing it for the kids, just to see the twinkle in their eyes,” said Klukan, adding that this year's Light-up Night will be full of magical surprises for the children.

Barbara Klukan, Paul's wife, said that in past years, she and Paul decorated their home with outside lights. The display was so spectacular that visitors gave the Klukans donations, which were passed on to help support Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

And since 2011, they have been involved in spreading that same joy to Ford City for Light-up Night.

“Creating smiles is our biggest reward,” Barbara said. “It doesn't seem like work when it all comes together.”

On a sunny fall afternoon, Klukan and Luke bent pieces of metal, shaping the 8-foot and 5-foot angels in Klukan's work space using a jig Klukan had made for that purpose. Some pieces they bent by hand in order to form each angel before welding, priming, painting and finally stringing them all with hundreds of twinkling LED lights.

The decorations serve a dual purpose.

Not only do they have the potential to fill the town with glittering holiday cheer for many seasons to come, but they serve as bright reminders for those who donated money for their construction in honor or memory of a loved one.

Klukan said the 5-foot angels and candles cost $200 each, and the large 8-foot angels cost $300 each. Those prices cover the expense of the LED lights, which cost 89 cents apiece for the smaller ones and $1.09 apiece for the larger ones.

This season's orders have already been filled, and there are at least five orders for next year, Klukan said. At this rate, Klukan said, he hopes to continue expanding the reach of decorations throughout the rest of the town.

As for this year's Light-up Night, Luke said that he will be in charge of the train display on Ford Street.

Among the other attractions, Klukan said, there will be live penguins, horse-and-buggy rides, fire truck rides, food and live music featuring local talent.

Those who wish to volunteer can call Klukan at 724-763-3974.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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