BALTIMORE - Crews are putting on the finishing touches before the Washington Monument in Baltimore's Mt. Vernon neighborhood is lit with holiday lights.
The annual monument lighting will be at 5 p.m. on Thursday.
Under recent management by the Mt. Vernon Place Conservancy, the classic holiday event centers around a 200-year-old landmark.
However, its impact ripples throughout the entire community.
Up the 227 stairs in the Washington Monument, the Mt. Vernon Place Conservancy is working on completing the set-up for the 52nd annual monument lighting.
"We are putting up the final strings of lights," said Executive Director Lance Humphries.
Humphries said the planning began in the summer.
The annual event will have food vendors and performers.
"We have over 20 vendors that are coming this year," Humphries said. "And on stage, we're going to have a lot of great performers, especially by folks here in Mt. Vernon," Humphries said.
The conservancy maintains and manages the monument daily.
It's to honor the nation's first president, and it was completed almost 20 years before the Washington Monunment in Washington, D.C.
"It's always been a point of pride for the citizens of Baltimore," Humphries said.
Humphries said lighting it up for the holidays is a delicate job that requires specially-made brackets, and a crew who's not afraid of heights.
"Our team, who hangs the lights from Lewis Contractors, they tested them every morning this week," Humphries said. "Our fireworks team, image engineering, they start loading in the fireworks about Thursday afternoon."
Around the corner, Vicki Schlasser, owner of Spirits of Mt. Vernon, is also gearing up for the big day.
"I'm bringing in additional staff. I'm bringing in additional product," she said.
Schlasser, who has owned Spirits of Mt. Vernon for 20 years, said she will have a signature beer for the monument lighting.
"Something like this is a very powerful business opportunity for us to generate some sales and survive during the holiday season," Schassler said.
Schassler said the monument lighting helps businesses in Mt. Vernon keep their lights on.
"We really appreciate Lance and all the work the conservancy has done to support small business, support Mt. Vernon, bringing people into the city, and it's a very special event," Schassler said.
for more features.