Courthouse's Most Wonderful Time of Year
By Csaba Sukosd | December 23, 2019
The Guernsey County Courthouse has always been the center of attention in downtown Cambridge. Thirteen years ago, a native son made it more colorful.
As part of a holiday campaign to generate more interest and tourism in the city, Joel Losego came up with an idea to create a holiday light show utilizing the county's most iconic structure.
"We were sitting down in front of the courthouse one evening looking at it, and thought, 'Wow! Wouldn't it be cool if we painted this with lights at Christmas time?'" Losego said.
Throughout his decades of experience in television production, he's had to continually learn new crafts and skills to keep up with the evolutions of news and broadcasting. The ability to learn on the fly was essential for the holiday project since he had no experience with any of it.
"It was difficult at first," Losego said. "There were a lot of things we did to maintain architectural design, and highlight the architectural design."
In total, approximately 30,000 lights are powered by more than 3 miles of electrical cable. The lighting sequences are produced using a computer program that meticulously details each color and effect for every 0.2 seconds.
"It's pretty involved," Losego said. "It takes about 18-22 hours to program every two minutes worth of music."
The hourlong show begins every evening and loops for multiple hours. It runs from Nov. 1 through New Year's Day.
"We went from the first year of surprising everybody to as many as 80 buses a year now that comes to see the show, visit the downtown, and do other things," Losego said.
The wide range of spectators included families curled up on benches, people watching from parked cars, and others catching it as they pass. For some, it's a life-changing event.
"A couple was a on a date, and came to the light show. A year later, they came back to the light show, and they got engaged. A year later, they came, and got married," Losego said.
In total, Losego and four other volunteers work year-round producing the spectacle, including two months setting up the lights, cables, control circuits, and control boxes as they work around the court's schedule. That selflessness to spread joy has become a community's guiding light.
"The most fun I have is going down to the light show, and watching the kids dance around," Losego said. "How can you not get into the Christmas spirit when you see that on a regular basis?"