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story.lead_photo.caption The City of Fulton's newest holiday decoration, a 45-foot-tall lighted "tree," turned on for the first time Tuesday evening. The decoration was crafted by city employees and locals, City Administrator Bill Johnson said. Photo by Helen Wilbers / Fulton Sun.

Sharp-eyed Fulton residents may have noticed some changes to the town's holiday decorations this year.

Alright, it doesn't take that sharp an eye to spot the towering new lighted "tree" in the roundabout. City Administrator Bill Johnson said the decoration stands 45 feet tall and 30 feet wide at its base.

"You can't tell from the ground, but the star at its top is 10 feet by 10 feet," Johnson said.

Each of the 1700 colored lights swirling down the structure was strung by members of Fulton's electric department. The pole up the center is two old flagpoles pieced together, while the giant metal hoop at the bottom was shaped with the aid of Gary Blackburn, owner of ProMuffler.

"It's at the best, most visible location in town," Johnson said, noting pretty much anyone who passed through Fulton ends up looping around the roundabout at 2nd and Market streets. "On Facebook, it's getting rave reviews."

He thanked the Fulton Garden Club, which maintains the native plant garden within the roundabout, for allowing the city to dig around and put up the decoration.

Because there's no tree within the structure, it shouldn't impede driver visibility, and the rainbow of lights was chosen to reduce glare, Johnson said.

Johnson is hoping the new decoration makes up for something that'll be missing this year.

"There's not going to be as many downtown decorations as in the past," he said. "We purchased those decorations used over 25 years ago, and on many, the sockets and wires are cracking. They're just not safe to use."

City employees are working to sort through the lighted greenery that usually wraps light poles around town to see what can be salvaged. Even the little that's still usable may be in its final year, Johnson said.

The swags of greenery that typically span the buildings in the Brick District will be entirely absent.

"The buildings downtown are old and the mortar is crumbling," Johnson said. "Those decorations hook onto anchors embedded in the buildings, and we don't want to pull chunks out of them."

He said the city has looked into replacing the decorations, but the cost totals an estimated $30,000-$40,000. To decorate a single pole costs at least $300, he said.

Johnson hopes Fulton residents will enjoy the new roundabout tree and the annual Festival of Lights and Wish Tree, which will light up Dec. 2 in Veterans Park.

"Our goal is to have the downtown decorations ready for the Holiday Sneak Peak in the Brick District Friday night," Johnson said.

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