Brian Brown Talks Noel Sign, Lions Club

Brian Brown lighting the Noel sign on Nov. 25, 2020. Contributed Photo

For more than four decades, the San Juan Lions have displayed a Noel sign in Friday Harbor to ring in the holidays. The sign was lit again this year on Wednesday, Nov. 25. Lion Brian Brown spoke with the Update about the sign’s creation, history and meaning.

The back of the Noel sign. Contributed Photo.

Q: Tell me a little about the sign.

A: Our sign has 90 feet of rope lights and 46 light bulbs. Our sign stays on top of the Cask & Schooner year-round. The San Juan Lions light the sign when the Town of Friday Harbor turns on the Christmas lights in [Memorial Park] and turns it off when the town turns their lights off.

Q: Where has the Noel sign been displayed in Friday Harbor?

A: The Noel sign was originally placed on top of the ferry terminal in the late ’70s but had to move because someone complained that a religious sign could not be allowed on a state-owned building. The sign was moved to the Crab House location in 1998 and was moved again the following year to the Cask & Schooner where it is today. 

Q: How has the Noel sign changed over the years?

A: The sign has changed a lot during its life. It started out as a heavy wooden structure with lights. In 2007, our sign was rebuilt using a light-weight frame and background with rope lighting and was taken down and stored on the roof. In 2018, our sign was rebuilt on an aluminum frame structure and attached to the roofline of the Cask & Schooner.

Jim Carroll also helped light the Noel sign on Nov. 25, 2020. Contributed Photo

Q: Why do the Lions light and maintain the Noel sign?

A: The San Juans Lions Club built the sign and has maintained it as a civic project. Our Noel sign is one of our contributions to San Juan Island to celebrate Christmas and the holidays. Our club is also involved in many other community projects. Remember the San Juan Lions Club [motto] “We Serve.”

Posted on November 30, 2020 at 5:30 am by

Categories: Community, History, People


  1. Thank you Lions for carrying on the tradition!

    Comment by Minnie Knych on November 30, 2020 at 11:41 am
  2. Thanks for carrying on a great tradition and reminding all of us that ‘NOEL’ is just French for seasonal greetings!

    Comment by Merilyn Bourland on November 30, 2020 at 11:16 pm

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