A group of dedicated volunteers from Friends of the Edna G spent time Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 decorating the 128-year-old tugboat with strands of donated lights.
"It's always somewhat of a challenge when you try to put Christmas lights on something odd," Friends of the Edna G member Hayse Scriven said. "The deck was slippery with snow and trying to figure out how they'd connect took some work, but we also had a group of pretty ingenious people working on it."
The Friends of the Edna G is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the Great Lakes tugboat Edna G. The goals of the organization are to restore, maintain, display and interpret its historic appearance and to educate the public about its role, according to the organization's website.
Scriven brought the idea of covering the tug with lights to the Friends after he was inspired by his job. Scriven serves as the executive director of the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center in Superior. Last Christmas, he wrapped the M60 tank displayed in front of the center with holiday lights.
"I had experience putting lights on a weird vehicle, so it felt like we could use some of the same tactics," Scriven said.
Scriven posted a call for light donations on the group's Facebook page and received many responses.
"All the lights came from community members," Scriven said. "There was one guy from the Cities who donated a bunch. He had a friend up here who came up and dropped off the lights for us."
The group picked the days and got to work. Scriven said the biggest challenge was finding some ways to hang the icicle lights to the lip and attaching lights to the metal sides.
The overall goal of the project is to raise awareness of the tug.
"Maybe people come come down and see how cute the tug looks and it'll get them excited about her and talking about her," Scriven said.
The tug is facing challenges. The city and the tug commission have been working with an outside consultant on a feasibility study of the tug, looking at the hull and exploring the option of taking the tug out of the water.
"That was done before I came onboard and some of the other commission members came onboard earlier this year," Scriven said. "What we'd like to do is take another route and look at what it would take to keep the boat in the water because we want to explore all of our options with the tugboat. We're not set down the path that it needs to come out of the water. We want all of the information down in front of us to make a wise decision on her future."
In the meantime, while the tug's future is yet to be determined, steps are being taken to ensure less ice damage occurs over this winter. The commission recently purchased several bubblers to keep ice from forming around the tug.