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18 December, 2014

Greetings from Marietta GA

We received this email today from Marietta GA. 
Hello: I wanted you to know how your balls have made their way to my hometown, Marietta, GA :)
Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - Holiday spirit shines on Marietta s Maple Avenue  
Holiday spirit shines on Marietta’s Maple Avenue
by Sally Litchfield
December 06, 2014 09:22 PM | 3127 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Stacy and Hank Blake learn how to create Christmas light balls to hang from the branches of trees in his yard for this year’s holiday season with Leslie Leonard and her mother, Jill, at the home of Sarah and John Bullington on Maple Avenue in Marietta. Families gathered in early November to make the balls by hand using chicken wire. <br>Staff-Kelly J. Huff
Stacy and Hank Blake learn how to create Christmas light balls to hang from the branches of trees in his yard for this year’s holiday season with Leslie Leonard and her mother, Jill, at the home of Sarah and John Bullington on Maple Avenue in Marietta. Families gathered in early November to make the balls by hand using chicken wire.
Staff-Kelly J. Huff
Nancy Steele carefully bends the sharp edges of chicken wire into the shape of a ball at the home of Sarah and John Bullington.
Nancy Steele carefully bends the sharp edges of chicken wire into the shape of a ball at the home of Sarah and John Bullington.
Noel Rowe and John Bullington show their neighbors on Maple Avenue how to secure the support lines for the ornaments with a potato launcher to lift the colorful lite orbs skyward.
Noel Rowe and John Bullington show their neighbors on Maple Avenue how to secure the support lines for the ornaments with a potato launcher to lift the colorful lite orbs skyward.
Spheres of light seem to float magically in the trees on Maple Avenue and the surrounding area (off Kennesaw Avenue near the Marietta Square) this time of year. The historic Marietta neighborhood gathers in early November to prepare the lighted Christmas balls for the holiday season.

“We took the idea for the Christmas balls from Sunset Hills in Greensboro, N.C.,” said Marietta resident Susan G. Reid, who attended graduate school at UNC Greensboro in North Carolina said.

“I had friends that lived in Sunset Hills and I saw (the balls). I thought, ‘Wouldn’t this be the perfect thing for our neighborhood in Marietta?’” she said.

Reid’s family started the tradition four years ago when she and husband Noel Rowe hoisted the first balls in their yard. “It’s been one of those things I wanted to do. We did it the first year and were the only house,” said Reid, who works as television and film agent for Atlanta Models & Talent. The couple has one daughter: Phoebe, a second-grader at Westside Elementary.

Neighbors inquired how to make the balls.

“We showed a handful of neighbors how to make them the second year,” Reid said.

Last year in early November, her neighbor, Sarah Bullington, organized a potluck where neighbors came together with materials to make the orbs.

“A lot people started jumping on board with the potluck that Sarah organized,” she said.

To make the balls, Reid said chicken wire is rolled like a tube and weaved together to form a sphere. “It doesn’t have to be a perfect circle. Once they get up in the tree, you can’t tell the round ones from the oblong ones. At night you’re just seeing the glow of them,” Reid said.

Standard Christmas lights are then used to cover the form and connected to one another, leaving a small part of the electric wire out to plug into an extension cord. Another line is attached to the ball to secure it once the orb is up in the tree.

“The tougher part is getting the lines up in the trees. That’s the reason I had to get my husband on board with this whole idea,” she said.

Potato guns made from PVC pipes are used to hoist the balls up in the trees. Neighbors typically put the balls up around Thanksgiving and light them the first Thursday in December.

“It’s hard not for Christmas to be everybody’s favorite holiday. Christmas is special on so many different levels. There’s something so magical about it. There’s something about these lights and seeing them and the layers of them in the neighborhood. It’s just magical. It brings out the best part of the holiday in all of us when you see them and have that kind of spirit through the lights. It’s brought to life,” Reid said.

Reid suggests doing a Google search on Sunset Hills, Greensboro, N.C., for a detailed tutorial on making the Christmas balls. 

Maple Avenue recently won an award from the city for the best decorated street and town thanks to your inspiration.  We've been going strong for four years but for some reason, 2014 was THE year for the orbs to really multiply and dazzle.  Street after street in our neighborhood is glistening with chicken wire and Christmas lights.  I hope to get some better picture of some at night to send to you.
Thank you for sharing your story with us and creating a new tradition for my childhood neighborhood!

Best,
Amanda
Kennesaw Avenue, Maple Avenue, Stewart Avenue
Marietta, GABookmark and Share

15 December, 2014

A beautiful day in the Neighborhood


Tire nearly flat
Trailer overflowing
1960 pounds - in the last week  
2760 for year so far 

Friends & Neighbors 
Marlene, Gardner, Elaine, and Roger
pack and take it away



Thanks everyone.  Remind all your friends!
The hungry are always with us. 







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10 December, 2014

Shine the Light on Hunger Food Drive


Shine the Light on Hunger Food Drive

Sunset Hills Lighted Christmas Ball party 
$580 for Second Harvest Food Bank 
$280 for Greensboro Urban Ministry Food Bank.  
796 pounds of food for Greensboro Urban Ministry. 
Please continue to donate canned foods through January 31st

Photo Credit Daniel Hassell
Additional food drop offs in the Sunset Hills
Rolling Road and Ridgeway 
Rolling Road and East Greenway North
West Greenway South between Berkley and West Market Street
Shine the Light on Hunger Food Drive



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05 December, 2014

Photos from 2014 LCB making party

Bookmark and ShareAt  this year's Lighted Christmas Ball (LCB) making party we had some new faces and some familiar faces. All who attended concentrated on twisting chicken wire and winding lights. Some who attended had read about the LCBs in the News and Record. If you come to see the lights in Sunset Hills, don't forget your food donations.  Many photos are on Shuttefly., You should be able to see them without logging in.

02 December, 2014

A Neighborhood Tradition

ICYMI, Monday's News-Record featured a stunning above (and below) the fold feature written by Danielle Battaglia, who tweets under DBattagliaNR. Danielle with photos taken by N-R Lynn Hey. Lynn's a multi-year North Carolina Press Association and Landmark award winner and veteran Lighted Christmas Ball maker. Last year, she documented the Running of the Balls through Sunset Hills. Danielle and Lynn spent the sunny Sunday afternoon chatting with friends new and old about all things chicken wire, lights and proven methods for launching one's lit orbs into tall trees. On hand was a plenty of volunteer-cut 48" x 24" sections of one-inch hex chicken wire, so many sections that if you laid them all end to end, they would have stretched the entire length of Ridgeway Drive from Market St. to Friendly Ave. If you haven't seen the article, click here. You can click here to see Lynn's gallery. You can thank me later for helping finish off your Christmas shopping, but these pics are available for purchase in a variety of formats! Don't miss out.

I was busy twisting chicken wire and didn't take many pics, but I did get a couple:










If you took pics, I'd love it if you'd email them to me (along with the photographer's name) and your permission to post them on this blog.

Cheers,

Jonathan

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Just in from Dallas TX

Just received this note from Katie Rabbe in Dallas - send us your photos - we would love to put them up.  Thanks Katie. 

Anne,
We have family-friends that live in Greensboro, NC. They shared the video with us last year and we were so moved by it that we wanted to make our very own lighted Christmas balls this year. 
Merry Christmas!
Katie
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28 November, 2014

War Eagle

Here is a tribute to my wonderful alma mater Auburn.  It's an Auburn ball.
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17 November, 2014

Chicken wire cutters have been at work

turned on the shop light and patio heater before going out to a meeting, returned to find the garage full of chickenwire sections all cut and neatly stacked. Thanks chicken wire cutters!