Lighting up all 18 wheels

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Tyler Elznic looks over the Christmas lights installed on a May Trucking big rig in preparation for Saturday’s Festival of Lights Holiday Parade. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

If last year’s May Trucking entry in the Festival of Lights Holiday Parade seemed impressive, just wait until this year’s parade on Saturday night.

Don’t forget to come back next year and see what’s changed.

For the fourth year, a crew at May Trucking Company just north of Keizer has decorated a 53-foot truck and trailer for the parade, which kicks off at 7 p.m. Saturday down River Road.

Frank Clarke and Tyler Elznic are two of the five May Trucking employees who have spent recent weekends decorating the entry, which will feature lights and corresponding music. Lisa Davis, director of Corporate Communications for May Trucking, noted efforts have ramped up.

“Three years ago we had vinyl lettering that said ‘Happy Holidays,’” Davis said. “As the shop got more involved, it got bigger and better, with more lights. This is the shop’s baby.”

The May truck had plenty of lights last year but Clarke, Elznic and others saw the lights and coordinated music on the Keizer Fire District entry.

“We wanted to beat them this year,” said Elznic, who works in the trailer shop. “I think we did. It’s going to be an eye opener. It’s something everyone will talk about.”

Clarke, who works in the body shop, credited Brian Alarid for being in charge of this year’s group.

“We came up with our ideas and they went up,” Clarke said. “We have the net lighting and the music coordinated. It’s been a relatively simple process.”

Simple maybe, but also time consuming. Davis estimated the employees have put in about 30 hours of their own time decorating the truck.

“Last Saturday we were here from 7 a.m. to 8 or 9 p.m.,” Elznic said. “We’ve had that doubt about whether it will get done, but I think it will turn out alright. Last year was nothing compared to this year.”

Clarke pointed out last year’s wasn’t bad, as the May entry won two awards at Portland International Raceway’s Winter Wonderland Lights.

“Last year everyone was in awe,” Clarke said. “To me, it’s exciting to do. It’s not just May’s truck, it’s our truck.

Shad Davis, a safety instructor at May’s, will drive in the parade. Two of his children will be with him in the cab.

“I think it’s a good idea and great advertising,” Shad Davis said of the truck. “I love Christmas and the tree on the truck in lights. I enjoy the heck out of it.”

The lights are held on by about 2,000 sticky connectors, which are all over the trailer. Elznic got on a ladder to put stickies and lights along the top.

Elznic estimated there are more than 20,000 lights, but wheels are already turning in the minds of the crew.

“I think we’ll exceed this next year,” Elznic said. “It will be a lot bigger and better.”

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