It’s the story of the Christmas that almost wasn’t- at least at the Benicia Capitol.
Lining the buildings on First Street with wreaths, lights and other festive decorations has long been a tradition for Benicia’s holiday season. This year, however, it almost looked as if the historic Capitol building would be without lights.
Typically, the lights are hung by the Benicia Fire Department. However, this year the department no longer has a truck with a ladder big enough to reach the top of the building’s facade or its two columns where the lights are hung.
“The city sold the old ladder truck for two reasons from what I heard,” Jon Van Landschoot, a senior park aide with Benicia State Parks Association, said. “One is it brought them some money, and secondly, they didn’t really use it that often.”
"It was a decision based on the serviceability and the cost to maintain the vehicle," Fire Chief Jim Lydon said.
However, when Van Landschoot was looking around for alternatives, Lydon referred him to Valero’s fire department. The refinery agreed to provide a truck with a big enough ladder to hang lights from the facade.
“We have a mutual agreement with the city of Benicia,” Valero Fire Chief Joe Bateman said. “If they call us, we’re always willing to help.”
The lights will be hung tomorrow at the Capitol, located at 115 West G. St. The Capitol will be holding a Holiday Open House from 6 to 9 p.m., Friday Dec. 4, where people can view the colorful lights. The event will coincide with the annual parade down First Street, which will feature live entertainment and wine tasting.