Sunday, November 28, 1999

Rumpke lights up for holidays

Landfill display is biggest yet

The Cincinnati Enquirer


        COLERAIN TOWNSHIP — The Christmas tree itself, made entirely of lights, took three days to put up, and the entire holiday display took 11/2 weeks — 2,000 lights on the towering hillside alone, another 4,000 lights strung along the Struble Road entrance.

        This is the third year that Rumpke Consolidated Cos. has lit up its landfill, the highest point in Hamilton County. Unofficially, it is called Mount Rumpke, a pale gray hillside that rises about 1,045 feet above sea level.

        Three years ago, Steve Keylor, Rumpke landfill manager at the time, had the idea to do something with the hillside during the holidays. A gasoline-powered generator was moved up the hill, along with a 43-foot tree made of 1,100 lights and a “Seasons Greetings” display, defined by 450 feet of lights.

        Last year, an illuminated candy cane was added, as well as a Nativity scene at the Struble Road entrance.

        “It's nice to add some holiday cheer with the display,” said Jeff Rumpke, Cincinnati district manager for Rumpke. “It's usually recognized, and people really expect to see it become a tradition.”

        Bob Viox, groundskeeper at the landfill, saw to it that everything was in place this year. The lights were turned on Wednesday night, he said. They will be turned on each night through the new year.

        Beginning at dusk, the lights blaze from atop the landfill and can be seen from miles away. Some say on clear nights, the display atop Mount Rumpke can be seen as far away as Oxford, almost 20 miles to the north.

        Wreaths will be hung at the entrance, and a Star of David will be placed on the wall by the entrance.

        The Nativity scene at the Struble Road entrance, complete with life-size figurines, will be visited by Santa Claus and elves, and open to the public on three successive Sundays, Dec. 5, 12 and 19, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

        Parents are encouraged to bring cameras and have photos of children taken with Santa.

        Larry Stone, Rumpke general manager, said the experience of visiting Santa outdoors compares well with visiting Santa inside a store.

        “People can stop by after church on their way home,” said Mr. Stone, as he stood outside by the Nativity scene.

        Last year, said Mr. Stone, people noticed Santa and slowed down, probably wondering what was going on.

        “It is open to the public,” said Mr. Stone.

        People do notice when the lights are out, said Mr. Stone, and will call when they see a display is out.

        “The Rumpkes are very family-oriented people,” said Mr. Stone. “It's a Christmas gift to the kids in the community. This is giving back to the community.”


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