Wander Minnesota: Building The Holidays At MOA

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Amy Rea Amy Rea
Amy Rea is a freelance writer and author of Minnesota, Land of 10,000...
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What does it take to get this:

Mall Of America Tree

(credit: Amy Rea)

To look like this:

moa2 Wander Minnesota: Building The Holidays At MOA

(credit: Amy Rea)

Lots of hours, lots of hands, and lots of hard hats.

Last week I visited the Mall of America a few times to find out something I’ve often been curious about: just how long does it take to put together those giant, beautiful trees in the Rotunda at the holidays?

(First, a caveat—I don’t hold anything against the Mall for putting up holiday decorations before Thanksgiving. At least they waited until after Halloween, which is more than can be said for many other retail establishments. You know who you are.)

moa 3 Wander Minnesota: Building The Holidays At MOA

(credit: Amy Rea)

To get those gorgeous, 44-foot trees in place and decorated means machinery, and boxes.

moa 4 Wander Minnesota: Building The Holidays At MOA

(credit: Amy Rea)

There are workers who climb and wait.

moa 5 Wander Minnesota: Building The Holidays At MOA

(credit: Amy Rea)

Then they guide the tree pieces into place.

moa 6 Wander Minnesota: Building The Holidays At MOA

(credit: Amy Rea)

While others get the next layer ready.

moa 7 Wander Minnesota: Building The Holidays At MOA

(credit: Amy Rea)

Meanwhile, in a tunnel under Nickelodeon Universe, these await.

moa 8 Wander Minnesota: Building The Holidays At MOA

(credit: Amy Rea)

They have to be plumped—by hand.

moa 9 Wander Minnesota: Building The Holidays At MOA

(credit: Amy Rea)

Upstairs, the tree construction continues slowly. All those little squares on each ring? Those are electrical outlets.

moa 11 Wander Minnesota: Building The Holidays At MOA

(credit: Amy Rea)

After many, many hours, the trees are in full, splendid regalia.

moa 12 Wander Minnesota: Building The Holidays At MOA

(credit: Amy Rea)

A few Mall of America holiday décor facts for you:

• There will be 250 trees throughout the Mall
• Each of the giant Rotunda trees has 32,000 LED lights and 60 strobe lights
• There are more than 10 miles of curtain lights
• Each 44-foot tree has 385 branches
• Ornaments around the Mall will be either 5 feet in diameter, weighing up to 200 pounds, or 8 feet in diameter, weight up to 300 pounds
• It takes 5 workers more than an hour to hang each ornament

Not surprisingly, the holiday season is the busiest time of the year at the Mall of America. You can expect the parking ramps and much of the surrounding parking lots to be full by noon the day after Thanksgiving. But that’s not even the busiest day—the two Saturdays before Christmas can have upwards of 150,000 people shopping.

If you’d like to see more about the work involved in sprucing up the Mall for the holidays, keep an eye on the HGTV program guide—they were filming while I was out there for a show on holidays around the world, which should air mid-December.

My thanks to Sarah Schmidt at the Mall of America for all the help in putting this together.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.

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