Man brings giant star to Pleasant Grove mountainside

December 17, 2018

A giant, 350-foot-tall star is brightening up the mountainside in Pleasant Grove, delighting community members and others who have seen the sight that suddenly appeared on Dec. 8. The star will remain through the holidays.

Pleasant Grove resident David Hartle made the half-mile trek up the mountainside on “G” Mountain to place the solar-powered lights in order to bring a smile to people.

“I hiked up there with massive duffle bags and a huge backpack,” he said.

About 40 lights are placed in the shape of the Star of Bethlehem, Hartle said. Each light is attached to a plastic stake that is pushed into the ground.

As soon as the star lit up on that first night, people began inquiring about it on social media and requesting that it be kept up through the holidays.

“We were going to leave it up for the weekend, but many people asked me to leave it up for Christmas,” Hartle said.

“Thank you so much for that beautiful gift to our city,” reads one comment on the Pleasant Grove Community Connection Facebook page.

“My kids spotted it and thought it was absolute magic,” reads another.

This is not the first time that Hartle has lit up a mountainside. He created the shape of a Pac-Man with lights in Cedar Hills for Halloween this year, and then the shape of the Jazz logo on the mountainside near Salt Lake City for the Utah Jazz home opener this season. In October, he tried out a pumpkin in Pleasant Grove. But the first one he ever tried was a Big Dipper in Pleasant Grove last summer.

After the Big Dipper was lit up on the mountain, Hartle heard about a resident whose son had just passed away the night before the lights went up. That son had a Big Dipper tattoo and the shape had special meaning for him. It was comforting for his mom to see that shape lit up on the mountainside.

“At that time, I only had nine lights total, so I randomly chose the Big Dipper because it would only take seven. I was going to wait for the weekend, but I had a strong feeling to go up on a Wednesday to do it,” Hartle said.

“Usually, we just do them for one night,” Hartle said. “After the Big Dipper, the first thing I wanted to do was the Star of Bethlehem. With the Light the World and Light the Community (initiatives), I thought, ‘Let’s do something for Pleasant Grove,’” he said.

Planning does go into the lighted shapes. First, Hartle arranges lights on a hill in his backyard until he gets them how he wants them. Then, he draws it out on graphing paper. Usually, his twin brother, Aaron Hartle, helps him with his creations.

But, this time, his brother was not able to help so David Hartle made the star himself, dodging sagebrush, holes and hills — with the help of a director standing at the bottom, letting him know if something needed to be adjusted. Hiking up the mountain and setting the lights takes several hours. The star can be seen well when traveling east on 200 South in Pleasant Grove.

Hartle has plans to continue his light creations in the future, especially the star, which he plans to do in Pleasant Grove each Christmas.

“I will do other things,” he said. “It’s fun.”

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