How To Make Long Beach’s Famed Holiday Arches
By John Grossi
In-Depth How-to Video: https://youtu.be/Uw5RXWmDiqc
For years, a Long Beach local named Tom Donahue, put up these lighted arches in front of his house for the holidays. During the quarantine Christmas of 2020, his neighbor Jeremy Echnoz offered to help get their whole street participating in on the arch fun.
About a month later, these arches weren’t just on the whole street, they were in the whole neighborhood! People started visiting from all over Long Beach (and beyond) to walk under the arches. It created a magical feeling and a true sense of community spirit!
Other neighborhoods have begun to join in on the fun too! Can Long Beach make this a new, lasting tradition? The years to come will tell…
Here’s what you’ll need to make one Holiday Arch (many houses make four of them, 15 ft apart):
• Two 5 ft EMT, 3/4 inch Conduits
• Two EMT Couplings 3/4 inch.
• One 10 ft stick of ½ inch PVC (electrical or plumbing is fine)
• Extension Cord (recommend using a standard 15 ft extension cord in between arches)
• 25 ft LED White String Lights
• Permanent Marker
• Soft Hammer
• Drill or Phillips Screw Driver
• Five Zip Ties for the lights
1) On each of the EMT conduits, mark at 1 foot high on ONE end. That way you know how far to put them in the ground.
2) Using the soft hammer, pound the EMT conduits into the ground - one on each side of the sidewalk. Position them about 4-6 inches away from the sidewalk, and lean the poles slightly in toward the sidewalk while you hammer them down. If your ground isn’t very soft, or if you don’t have a soft hammer, you may need to use a regular hard hammer. If so, place a wood block on top of the EMT conduit and hammer the wood down. If you use a hard hammer directly on the EMT conduit it may bend or warp.
3) Once both EMT conduits are in the ground, take the EMT couplings, place them at the top of each conduit, and fasten the bottom screw on each so that it presses against the conduit, holding it firm.
4) Take the 10 ft PVC and arch it upward, placing one end in each EMT conduit.
Fasten the top screw in each coupling against the PVC to hold it in place. Straighten out arch as you do so.
5) String your lights along the entire arch. Be sure to think ahead about where your power supply comes from and which side of the sidewalk you want the extension chord on!
6) Secure the lights with zip ties. One at the very top, two on each side above the EMT couplings, and two at the bottom of each conduit. Cut the zip tie so the tail isn’t hanging out!
That’s it, you’ve got yourself a holiday arch! You can get creative with how you decorate them or you can stick to the classic white lights! It’s fun when each house has multiple in front of them so people can walk through hundreds of arches around the same neighborhood!
All these supplies can be found at home improvement stores. But better shop fast! Last year in Long Beach, the stores ran out because the arches were so popular!
Life is Great in the 908!