The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

November 14, 2012

Watchfire part of events


DANVILLE — Watchfire Signs again is on display at the Festival of Trees and contributing to the community.

“The employees of Watchfire design a ‘must-see’ showcase every single year,” Jim Anderson, Provena United Samaritans Medical Center vice president of development, said in a press release. “We are always amazed at the visual creativity and interactive nature of their holiday display. It’s especially fun to see the way the kids crowd around the Watchfire showcase.”

During the week, Watchfire engineers set in place a 8-by-7-foot full color 12mm digital sign to form the festival showcase’s back wall.

The festival runs through today at the David S. Palmer Arena.

The high resolution sign displays the show theme, an animated fireplace and photos of employees and their children reading together, while the showcase itself is filled with books donated by employees and their families.

This year’s festival theme is “Share the Joy,” which inspired Watchfire employees to give a creative — and altruistic — spin to their holiday showcase, calling it “Share the Joy of Reading.”

“We usually start thinking about our display a while in advance,” said Scott Ohlmiller, one of the engineers working on this year’s project. “This year we had the opportunity to focus not just on signage, but on giving back to the community.”

As it is every year, the showcase was designed and built entirely by employees who donate their time for the event.

Books in the display will be donated to local schools and the Danville Public Library.

The showcase complements the outdoor 19mm color LED tree Watchfire employees donated to the Festival of Trees in 2011. The 19mm digital tree measures 12 feet, 10 inches and is composed of 50 W19 modules.

“Everyone helps out who can,” said Michelle Schoolcraft, a Watchfire volunteer, who with fellow volunteer, Judy Doeden, has been designing for the festival from the beginning.

“Employees have helped by cutting out the sheet metal tree frame, designing moving figures in the display, or designing creative artwork for the signs in our booth. Every year is totally new,” Schoolcraft said.

Doeden agreed, “Our supervisors are awesome. They encourage us to give our time and let us try new things.”

Both appreciate the opportunity to put their creative talents to work for this cause.

Anderson has been impressed by the consistent creative and technical talent behind the Watchfire exhibits.

“The employees of Watchfire have been outstanding partners for the Festival of Trees. The fundraising done with the help of our title sponsors, like the employees of Watchfire, is vital for our community outreach programs. We are very thankful for the years of support,” Anderson said in the release.

Watchfire will cap off participation in the event by donating the use of a Watchfire demo truck in the Downtown Danville Night of Lights Parade tonight.

Messages thanking the 12 largest festival sponsors will display on the truck’s onboard LED sign.

David Wuellner, the Watchfire sales representative for Central Illinois and Indiana, has donated his time to drive in the parade and to program the thank-you messages that will display.

Watchfire Signs is headquartered in Danville and designs, engineers and manufactures LED signs. Watchfire has manufactured outdoor electric signs since 1932 and LED signs since 1996. The company has created more than 40,000 Watchfire LED signs for convenience stores, gas stations, retail, banks, schools, places of worship and other locations worldwide.

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