Courtesy of: The Morning News
By Rosalie Klein
One of Aruba‘s most beloved end of the year traditions is when the fantastical display of lights is turned on at the Seroe Preto mount in San Nicolas. A new theme is devised and built annually by the volunteers of the Youth Union of Seroe Preto, through donations by the local community and commercial sponsors.
It is a favorite place to visit by both tourists and islanders, particularly on weekends when the evenings are especially festive, with local bands performing and a variety of refreshment vendors on hand. All year, the volunteers work to create a new design and acquire materials, for the eagerly-anticipated unveiling, usually at the beginning of December and lasting until Three Kings Day in January.
The cost of continuing this tradition has become increasingly prohibitive annually, as energy costs rise. Executives of ELMAR N.V., Aruba’s official distributor and administrators of electrical current, and SETAR N.V., the national telecommunications company, saw a solution, very much in keeping with Aruba’s official sustainability policy of “going green.”
Both institutions are under the authority of Aruba’s Minister of Finance, Communications, Utilities and Energy, Mike de Meza, a native son of the town of San Nicolas. He personally was concerned for the future of this holiday tradition which has existed since his childhood on Aruba’s east end.
ELMAR N.V. and SETAR N.V. have sponsored the installation of 50 solar panels at Seroe Preto, which will generate energy feeding Aruba’s public grid. The credit accumulated by feeding energy into the system will provide the operators sufficient energy for all their electrical use, throughout the holiday season. Not only will this completely subsidize the tens of thousands of colored lights used in the display, but the more than 40 spotlights around the park.
The newly installed panels were unveiled during an impromptu ceremony at Seroe Preto on Monday afternoon, July 1. Buchi Wout, head of the Youth Union of Seroe Preto, introduced Nicko Kock and his crew, who design and create the display annually, purely out of dedication for this tradition. He expressed the heartfelt gratitude of the volunteers and the community for the thousands of florins this will spare them to keep the lights burning, a concern that weighed on them more and more each year.
Minister de Meza expressed how pleased he is that ELMAR N.V. and SETAR N.V. are providing this sustainable source of energy for Seroe Preto, along with great peace of mind for those who dedicate their time and energy to seeing this tradition continued for the enjoyment of island visitors and all the community.