Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fab 5

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fab 5

Article excerpt

Fab 5

There's a slow stretch on Interstate 44 between the I-270 exchange and the exit to Mo. 141. All we regular commuters know it and normally dread it. But if ever there's a great time of year to be stuck in that bottleneck, this is it: Maritz Corp and John Fabick Tractor Co. have their Christmas light displays up. Yay!

Every year it is the same: There we are, inching along, glaring churlishly at each other through our windshields, and, suddenly, it's as if we've entered a magic realm. Taut expressions relax; drivers nod to each other in mute bonhommie. The grace of the season has touched us, a blessing bestowed by who would have thunk it? the corporate culture.

Thank you very much, all you corporate and civic bigwigs. Turns out you're just like the rest of us: You know the value of a light in the night.

Our Top Five Holiday Displays:

1. Maritz Corp. started putting up lights 10 years ago, spreading them over a couple of trees on a hillock, then a couple more. The company's light display now graces both sides of I-44 for a fifth of a mile. There are one million lights this year, "one million on the nose," says Sid Hutchins, senior vice-president for corporate communications. To drive past the display is really to drive through it, a promenade in a field of glittering winter butterflies.

One year the crew put up colored lights. "They lasted a couple of hours," Hutchins recalled. "Jim (Maritz) likes the white ones." So do we, Jim.

2. But we also love the multi-colored display at

Fabick Tractor Co. Fabick has Santa and reindeer arriving in a parade of heavy equipment: a motor grader, a wheel loader, a rubber-tired excavator, all outlined in alternating lights so it looks as if the machines are rolling along. The Christmas tree, 25 feet high, made of metal rods strung with lights, hangs from a crane. All the decor is made in the 77-year-old company's welding shop. "We feel a little overshadowed by Maritz sometimes," John Schrader, the plant boss, said. …

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