A team of ‘elves’ helps deck the malls for the holidays


No sooner had the soggy Halloween pumpkins been trashed than the “elves” of Dekra-Lite descended on area malls and theme parks in the wee hours of dawn.

In a matter of days – or what seemed like the blink of an eye – South Coast Plaza, Knott’s Berry Farm and Irvine Spectrum Center – were transformed from typical to tinseled.

Joseph Gomez, an installation supervisor with the Santa Ana-based company, has been decorating malls for 10 years. On Nov. 14 at the Spectrum, he wrangled the setup of a 50-foot interactive Christmas tree bedazzled with red and gold ornaments.

Several brawny men in hard hats climbed ropes inside the towering fake fir to install nearly 16,000 lights. Some 200 sandbags weigh down the tree and its 524 branches loaded with 10,924 ornaments.

The tree, a modern-day wonder programmed to blink in sync with holiday music, is one of the biggest…


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