Southeastern PA

One Tank Trip: Christmas Pageant of Lights

One Tank Trip: Christmas Pageant of Lights

PHILADELPHIA - It's a modern makeover for a more efficient holiday tradition.

"We went from incandescent light bulbs to all LEDs," said Curt Mangel, the curator of organs at Macy's in Philadelphia.

There are now 17,000 LED lights, using just 1/10th the power of the old lights, and a brand new tree at the Christmas light show, titled the "Christmas Pageant of Lights" at the Macy's 13th and Market streets store in Philadelphia. It's a holiday tradition that has been delighting shoppers for 58 years.

"I like to think that Macy's owns Christmas in this city," said Mangel.

Macy's is certainly cornering the market with this kitschy display. When the show starts, you'll hear the voice of Julie Andrews narrating the enchanting story.

"It's very moving to see four generations of a family sitting in the grand court, watching and sharing it with a new child and realizing these great family histories of admiration for the show," Mangel said.

It's all digital, and a show that used to take two months to construct now goes up in just three days.

Mangel can also start the show remotely from his iPhone, but even with all the technical upgrades, the old feeling of wonder remains.

The finale is still a crowd-pleaser, almost literally bringing the house down with the largest playing pipe organ in the world.

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