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Decking the avenue

On the coldest day so far this winter, Daniel Faust and his crew of six are braving the elements to bring holiday cheer to downtown Appleton. For Faust, the chilly weather is an expected, if not appreciated, part of the job.

“Usually College Avenue is like a wind tunnel. The buildings kind of hold the wind,” says Faust. “For me it’s a lot of hand and foot warmers. I don’t like the cold.”

Born and raised in Omro, Faust did his schooling at UW-Stevens Point where he achieved a degree in landscape architecture. “After a long work history in that field, I decided to move on to other things,” says Faust.

Faust has been decorating downtown since he was hired by the city 10 years ago. While most of the year he fulfills his duties as property maintenance inspector for the city of Appleton, November through April he is an odd jobs man with municipal services. Decorating for the holidays is one of his favorites.

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“I think it’s a great way to kick off the holiday season. It is a great welcoming sight to shoppers, visitors, to guests within the city as they’re coming down College Avenue,” says Faust. “I think that it kind of takes away from some of the bad things that winter brings — the cold, the snow and the ice. For a while there, it puts a lot of smiles on people’s faces.”

Decorating downtown also starts Faust’s personal holiday season. “Once the lights are up, that’s the go-ahead for Christmas. I can think about shopping and it kind of gets you in the spirit of Christmas,” he says.
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Over the course of two days, Faust and his crew will install 46 gold heralding trumpeters   which includes the eight that hang above the intersections at Appleton and Oneida streets with two large stars. Each centerpiece, suspended about the intersection by four wires, weighs approximately 350 pounds. They will hang approximately 4,000 lights on College Avenue alone. More adorn Wisconsin Avenue where Faust and his crew hang 84 wreaths from Badger Avenue to Ballard Road.

The job takes sure timing and a lot of communication across city departments. It takes hard work from traffic control, electrical and parking to make everything run smoothly. And according to Faust, while he has been on the job, nothing has ever gone seriously wrong. They continue to streamline the process and make it safer each year.

More than the job itself, Faust enjoys the feedback from the community. “I really do appreciate it when we are on College Ave. and we are doing the decorations, the amount of people that stop by and say ‘thank you for doing this,’” says Faust.

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Without the decorations, it just wouldn’t feel like Christmas downtown. Decorations will be going up in Menasha Nov. 24. From FOX CITIES Magazine and the community as a whole, thank you to everyone who braves the cold and brings holiday cheer.

— By Jennifer Clausing

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