"Mustang" will glow on when lights go out at DIA tomorrow

Is Denver International Airport in the dark? The airport will be celebrating touchy-feely Earth Hour tomorrow, turning off lights between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 23. The black-out includes the illuminated DIA sign along Pena Boulevard, the illuminated sign marking the Jeppesen Terminal and the lights on the base of "Mustang," Denver's most loved -- and loathed -- piece of public art.

But Blucifer's glowing orange eyes will remain lit.

"The eyes are considered to be part of the artwork, as the artist's intent was to honor his father, who was a neon-sign maker," says DIA spokesman Heath Montgomery.

That artist, of course, was Luis Jimenez, who was killed creating "Mustang" when a piece of the almost-finished sculpture fell on him, severing an artery in his leg. Two years later, many times over budget and fifteen years after the city commissioned the piece, the 32-foot-high fiberglass piece was installed outside of DIA. Although "Mustang" attracted plenty of complaints in the beginning, many of those critics have turned around. And tomorrow night, those glowing orange eyes might be the best way to navigate your day to DIA during Earth Hour.

Here's the Earth Hours announcement from DIA:

For the first time, Denver International Airport will participate in the worldwide celebration of Earth Hour on Saturday by turning off the illuminated DIA sign along Pena Boulevard, the illuminated sign marking the Jeppesen Terminal and the lights on the base of the "Mustang" statue.

The airport will first turn the LED sign along eastbound/inbound Pena Boulevard green, from 7:30-8:30 p.m., in a symbolic expression of Denver's efforts to work toward a greener city and planet. The sign, along with an illuminated sign at the entry to the Jeppesen Terminal and the lights that illuminate the "Mustang" statue, will be turned off entirely from 8:30-9:30 p.m. in celebration of Earth Hour. DIA is also encouraging its employees to turn off non-essential lights during Earth Hour.

"Denver International Airport has a widespread reputation as a green airport, and we are a leader in working to reduce the environmental impact of our daily operations," said Kim Day, Manager of Aviation. "We are proud to join in this international celebration of our planet, and to acknowledge the environmental challenges it faces."

The Earth Hour event will not affect operations at the airport, and the lights will be turned back on at the conclusion of the event.

And here's an important addendum for travelers: The runway lights will stay on through Earth Hour.

From the Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "After five years, it might be time for 'Mustang' to mosey on."

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