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Suncrest creates a wonderland of lights

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Wendy Johnson

0 Talk about it

When it comes to Christmas lighting displays, Duluth has its Bentleyville Tour of Lights. Cloquet has Suncrest Senior Living Community. 

The fact that a full-blown Christmas lighting display can be found within the walls of a senior living facility might come as a surprise to some. But anyone who has ever been inside Suncrest will understand that creating wonder is what it’s all about. The interior of the senior living facility consists of a two-story atrium filled with trees, plants and a fountain with live goldfish in it to simulate the great outdoors. Each apartment has a distinct façade that frames the doorway and makes it look like an actual cottage.

And now, during this season of darkness and light, Suncrest has its own amazing display of Christmas lights — some 40,000 of them, according to resident John Weber, who helped decorate the 30 trees, as well as stairwells, bridges and balconies.

Weber said the decorating effort began in November, and it continued yet this week as fellow resident Morris Iloff labored over rewiring an illuminated snowman that had been donated by one of the residents and had ceased to light up.

“It gives me something to do,” said Iloff with a grin.

According to maintenance manager Mike Bloom, who spearheaded the effort, Suncrest has strung lights and decorated trees for the past four years he’s worked there, though the display has grown every year.

“Many of the residents who come to live here donate their ornaments and other decorations, and we try to make use of all of them,” he said.

There is one special tree of antique glass ornaments, another of handmade ornaments and yet another of wooden ornaments. All of the trees in the two-story senior living facility are illuminated, including a “family tree” in the family room, underneath which residents can place gifts and host holiday gatherings for friends and family.

Many other special touches have been added as well, including a miniature Christmas village, a Native American nativity scene and even a nearly life-sized polar bear leaning up against a tree.

Bloom said the Christmas lighting display will be left up until the end of January, and he encouraged members of the community to stop in at any time to enjoy the display. Suncrest is located