Sparkling: Here’s the Story of David Martin and Alexandria’s Holiday Lights

It took a jeweler to brighten up Old Town.

Alexandria, VA – For 30 years, David Martin has made jewelry sparkle in Alexandria at his shop, Gold Works, Inc., and in case you missed it, he’s responsible for lending an air of romance to the city a month-and-a-half ahead of schedule. See, Martin got the Alexandria City Council to agree to extend the holiday lighting in the trees on King Street from five months to eight months, and in mid-September the lights were strung in the trees and turned on.

“I just had to remind them that there’s this and old town, too and other gateways down here and they should light it all up,” Martin told The Zebra. “My argument was about making Alexandria more festive, a safe place to be delightful and appealing to not only the citizens, but business people and tourists.”

Holiday lights in Old Town. (Courtesy photo)

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Martin, who is an Alexandria Living Legend, got the support of Alexandria City Councilwoman Del Pepper, who championed the issue for him.

“It was very important to him and he felt it made a difference to his business and other businesses on King Street,” Pepper said. “I call them our economic development lights, because this is a statement that we are open for business, and that’s why I think they’re terribly important. People like to come here to see the lights, and I think it really puts folks in a festive mood.”

Patricia Washington, president and CEO of Visit Alexandria, said that the lights are due to Martin’s efforts.

“David Martin has been a champion of the twinkle lights on King Street – which are iconic to Alexandria’s holiday experience,” Washington said. “Thanks to David’s passion and advocacy, the twinkle lights have been extended to most of the year enhancing the attractiveness of Alexandria’s most historic commercial corridor year round.”

Martin is so pleased that it all worked out, in fact, that he wrote a letter to City Council congratulating them on a job well done. Extending the lights by three months ends up costing the city an additional $17,400. The total amount budgeted on the holiday lights is $150,000.

“It looks lovely,” he said. “It was something that I wanted it to happen and I knew I had a lot of backing. It was a mindful and purposeful challenge.”