‘Tis the season for Christmas crane wars along the Seattle skyline

Dec 6, 2013, 9:29 AM | Updated: May 16, 2016, 9:48 am
Christmas cranes...
High above the welders and framers, the crane stands as the identity of the job site, and at Christmas time, it's not about who has the biggest crane or the tallest crane. It's about who has the best decorations. (KIRO Radio Photo/Chris Sullivan)
(KIRO Radio Photo/Chris Sullivan)

There’s always that one guy in the neighborhood, maybe it’s you, that has to out-do everybody else with his Christmas lights. You probably call him “Clark Griswold” behind his back.

But this Christmas competition isn’t just for homes or neighborhoods. The companies running those giant construction cranes take their decorations seriously, too.

High above the welders and framers, the crane stands as the identity of the job site, and at Christmastime, it’s not about who has the biggest crane or the tallest crane. It’s about who has the best decorations.

“With the Christmas lights, those are our swords,” said John Schimke, superintendent for GLY construction. His two cranes above South Lake Union feature blue-lit supports and red-lit arms. Each have giant green Christmas trees on top. Schimke said they’ve been planning the decorations for months.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

“This year, we added a little extra flavor with the snowman, the 12th Man and the wreath, and there was some planning involved,” he said. “That stuff needs to be fabricated and put together in a safe and appropriate fashion.”

A few blocks away, James Buehler, the superintendent of JTM Construction, began his preparations in July. He wanted the Seahawks logo in lights, but a copyright got in the way. He decided to put nearly 4,000 lights into a giant 12th Man display.

“We throw some ideas out there and some of them stick,” Buehler said. “Obviously, the 12th Man, everybody got really excited about it on the job and wanted to be part of it.”

Buehler said he does keep an eye on what the other job sites are doing.

“Seattle’s a small town,” he said. “We all have friends at other companies that have cranes up. There’s a little competition, of course. You want to have the brightest and best crane out there.”

He believes his Seahawk blue and green crane is the best. So I asked Schimke for his reaction.

“Timing is everything,” Schimke said. “Ours was up first. Ours was up complete, and I’ve noticed as theirs has come up after ours, it resembles closely to what we had up originally.”

Reading between the lines, I believe that means Buehler should have put his lights up first, and Schimke thinks his cranes are better.

You can judge for yourself.

If you’re afraid of heights, stringing these lights is probably not a good career choice either.

To get the lights out to the ends of the arms, workers have to climb out about 300 feet while several hundred feet above the ground.

Local News

Associated Press

Man charged with murder in deaths of missing mom, girl

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The man named as a person of interest in the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend and her 7-year-old daughter was charged with two counts of murder in their deaths, police in Washington state said Friday. Detectives from the Vancouver Police Department booked Kirkland Warren for two counts of first-degree murder Friday after […]
1 day ago
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Manufactured roadblocks lead to attempted kidnapping in Pierce County

The woman described the suspect as a Hispanic male between 20 and 30 years of age. He is approximately 5-foot-7.
1 day ago
human trafficking...
Shawn Garrett, KIRO 7 News

Vashon Island man arrested on ten federal charges related to human trafficking

According to the media release, Ruiz-Hernandez used force, threats of force, and physical violence to force an adult to work for him.
1 day ago
the last of us...
Frank Sumrall

‘The Last of Us’ Season 2, set in Seattle, to be filmed in BC

The series premiere was watched by 4.7 million viewers on the first day it was released — the second-biggest for HBO since 2010.
1 day ago
capitol campus...
Nicole Jennings

WSP prepares for any Trump-related unrest at WA State Capitol

The WSP is gearing up in case there is unrest on the State Capitol Campus in Olympia when former President Trump is arraigned.
1 day ago
road closures...
Nate Connors

Weekend Traffic: Daffodil Parade, Monster Jam to cause slowdowns

Drivers will have to navigate a number of road closures along the many parade routes for the Daffodil Festival for most of Saturday.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.
Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
‘Tis the season for Christmas crane wars along the Seattle skyline