Columbia's Power Plant Sets the Holiday Skyline

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COLUMBIA - It's an iconic part of the Columbia holiday skyline. But, who's crazy enough to string Christmas lights at the Columbia Power Plant every year? We found him.

You think putting up your Christmas lights is a pain in the neck... Steve Lewandowski, the assistant power production superintendent, has you beat.

Lewandowski's coworkers are happy to let him take the lead on the project that he's been in charge of for about a decade.

"It's kind of fun. You know, I never thought it meant that much to people until you get out and talk to people," said Lewandowski.

As long as they're praising and not questioning his technique, this expert Christmas light-stringer is happy.

"Usually when they start asking questions, I ask them if they want to volunteer then they usually don't ask any more questions or make any more suggestions."

The stack at the Columbia Power Plant is 300 feet from the ground; about 160 feet are lit.

Lewandowski said, "You have a great view up there. The only downside is... if you wait too long, you'll have to do it in the cold, windy weather."

The lights ornament the stack all year. They're now on ropes so they never come down, which makes the job much easier than it used to be.

Once Lewandowski flipped the switch, he was relieved to see there weren't too many strands of lights out. If there were too many dark spots, Steve and his coworkers would have begun the four to five hour process of re-lighting the industrial Christmas tree.

"Looks like it's going to be a pretty easy year and after the summer, I was hoping that was going to be the case," said Lewandowski.

A tall order he gets to avoid at least for this year.

Lewandowski said, "I don't expect anything under the tree this year."