The giant Christmas tree in the heart of Frankston City has been delighting locals for decades, and has been a beacon for families journeying to the Mornington Peninsula to enjoy their summer holidays. When children caught a glimpse of the tree, they knew their car ride was almost over.
Back in the year 2000, Tony Hansen was asked to assist with the rigging of the lights for the first time, helping to create the annual festive display as part of Frankston’s Christmas Festival of Lights.
“Mr Wrigley, the electrician, asked for our assistance with the light installation – and 18 years later it’s the job I most look forward to every year,” said Mr Hansen.
“The way the lights are installed has changed a lot over the years. Early on the lights were a cable of individual incandescent bulbs.”
Mr Hansen recalls the cables being hauled up through the branches with some of the globes not surviving.
“We’d have to climb out to the tips of the branches to replace the broken globes. Now we have optic cables, durable new globes and a computer programming system that gives us a brilliant light show in an array of colours.”
Seeing an arborist up a tree in a high visibility vest isn’t anything overly special, however a few years ago Mr Hansen decided to take it to a new level.
“A few years ago I acquired a Santa suit. Each year I put the jolly costume on to delight the young kids who walk by on their way to school.
“My assistant dresses as an elf. We get into the spirit of Christmas and make it an enjoyable occasion for onlookers.
“I love seeing the kids’ smiling faces at the school next door while they shout at me how good they’ve been this year.”
Mr Hansen enjoys attending the Frankston Christmas Festival of Lights with his family.
“I love seeing Santa perform his magic with the amazing light show, but I always have my climbing gear with me just in case they need my extra help. So far, it’s gone off without a hitch every year.”
Frankston City Mayor, Cr Colin Hampton, said it was great to be able to share the excitement of the festive season with someone as dedicated as Mr Hansen.
“This year we’re celebrating 21 years of Frankston’s Christmas Festival of Lights. It’s a night of magic for the young and young at heart,” said the Mayor.
“I’d like to thank Mr Hansen and everyone involved in bringing this spectacular event together each year.”
Highlights of this year’s event include:
- Watch Santa’s Grand Arrival
- Meet Santa Claus at Santa's House
- Enjoy the sounds of Christmas at the Entertainment Stage
- Have an Elfie Selfie with The Elf on the Shelf®
- Watch the PJ Masks live shows at the Frankston Arts Centre
- Meet’n’Greet with Nickelodeon’s PAW Patrol
- Kick off your Christmas shopping at the Little Beauty Christmas Market
- Children can create Christmas masterpieces in the North Pole
- Enjoy culinary delights in the Gingerbread Lane Festival Dining
- Head to Elf Alley to discover amusements and ride
- Children can have fun in Rudolph's Children Zone
- Marvel at the Tree Lighting Ceremony and Fireworks Display at 9.15pm
Saturday 24 November
Davey Street, Frankston
Free entry (costs for rides, food and amusements)
For more information on Frankston’s Christmas Festival of Lights visit: www.christmasfestivaloflights.com.au