Like most people preparing to throw a party, city employees have a lot to do preparing for the Pro Football Hall of Fame festivities.

“To me, my job is the most important because we are the cosmetics,” said Scott Whipkey, supervisor for Traffic Sign and Paint, a division of the city Engineer’s Office. “When you put your car in a car show, you want it to be waxed and as pretty as possible. We want to make Canton as beautiful as possible because the whole world is looking at us.”

Whipkey and his assistant Terry Wilson erect signs at the First Aid stations along The Canton Repository Grand Parade, place the green-and-white shuttle detour signs from the Stark County Fairgrounds to the stadium, paint 161 football helmets on the parade route, and skillfully melt thermal plastic onto blacktop with white glass beads to make crosswalks so vivid they glow at night.

Events related to the Hall of Fame enshrinement have already started.

The Hall of Fame Game is 8 p.m. Thursday at Benson Stadium between the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos.

The annual parade kicks off 8 a.m. Saturday in downtown Canton. And the enshrinement ceremony is 7 p.m. Saturday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

“We want to make sure those are cleaned up because, when the drones and the helicopters (during festival events) are taking sky videos, we as Canton want that route to look as beautiful as possible because the world sees it. Not just us here in Canton, but the whole world,” Whipkey said.

The helmets are stenciled by Whipkey and Wilson on hands and knees and then painted by brush and two-inch rollers north on Cleveland Avenue NW for the entire parade route — from Sixth Street SW to 25th Street NW. Eight are painted green, 132 are yellow and there are seven each of red, white and blue.

“They not only look cool because they’ve got prismatic pieces of glass and, at nighttime when the streetlights hit it, they reflect the color. They have a glow, a reflectivity. It’s awesome,” Whipkey said.

The helmets are are used as cues for the marching high school bands in the parade to signal a song change, he said.

Doug Serban, supervisor of the Traffic Signal and Lighting Division, said his three-man department also is responsible for swinging traffic lights out of the way before the Grand Parade and for swinging them back. From about 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. the night before the parade, traffic signal and lighting workers go to all 17 intersections on the parade route, swinging away the 35 large traffic signal-bearing arms over Cleveland Avenue NW so the large balloons in the parade can pass.

“All of the arms are on hinges,” Serban said. “We unbolt the arms, swing them open and prop them open with a brace. They stay open overnight and then the parade happens. Right after the parade, we pull them back over the road.” That takes another three and a half hours.

They also erect the banners, beginning the week of July 7th — a couple weeks before the majority of the Pro Football Hall of Fame festivities begin.

The banner placement is their department’s role in an effort “to dress the city up for the festival,” Serban said, adding he borrows two or three workers from other city departments to help.

The workers begin putting up banners on poles at Sixth Street SW and Cleveland Avenue NW and work their way north on Cleveland to 25th Street, where the parade route ends.

More banners go up on Market Avenue S beginning with the poles in front of The Canton Repository at 500 Market Ave. S, and heading south on Market.

It takes about two or three days to get all the banners displayed on the city’s decorative poles, Serban said.

After those banners go up, Serban and his crew put up banners for the festival’s First Play on the tall columns of the former Frank T. Bow building.

More banners are placed around the Pro Football Hall of Fame itself, “starting at Fulton and Stadium Park and going all the way up around the Hall of Fame,” Serban said.

He said the banners are all removed the week after the festival and returned to the Hall of Fame.

Reach Lori at 330-580-8309 or lori.steineck@cantonrep.com.