It's been a while since we've done something considered blogworthy. But just a few nights ago, we ventured out to see the Denning family Christmas lights. (They're more than just lights. Going there is an event. You can expect to see a light show synced to Christmas music.)
We piled the kids into the car on a school night and told them we were going to look at Christmas lights. About half way there, the boy perks up and says, "We going to Lowes, Mom?" I chuckled. We do go to Lowe's to look at Christmas lights and displays just for fun. We've done it about three or four times since Halloween.
"No. We're going to a house, to see the lights on a house."
"But I wanna go to Lowe's, Mom." It's so cute the way he says Lowe's.
"I know. But this will be cool too."
"But I wanna go to Lowes." (Repeated 12 times.)
Finally we round the corner and we can see it. It looks like something out of a movie--either Deck the Halls or that Griswald one. We turn our car stereo on and tune it to 107.5 and enjoy the show. It doesn't disappoint. When we've heard all the songs and the show starts over I get the box of canned food I brought for the Food Bank and place it in the barrel on the front porch. Free entertainment. Love it. Thank you Denning Family. The boy had a good time and the girl and the baby did too. We cross our fingers that they'll do it again next year. Or we might end up at Lowe's.
I had the opportunity to sit down with the famous guy behind the Denning Family Christmas lights and ask him a few questions. (I didn't really. We did this over FB.)
What is your address? 4468 W. Blue Creek St in Meridian.
How long have you been doing this? 4 years.
Do you have show hours? 6pm to 10 pm on weeknights, 'til 11pm on Friday and Saturday.
How many songs? 10
How many minutes? Somewhere around 28 minutes for the full playlist. I haven't timed it exactly.
What station does a person tune to to hear the playlist? 107.5 FM
How many lights do you have? As of last tally, I show 26,662 lights.
How do your circuits handle all that power? I have to have it all laid out in a spreadsheet to keep things organized and spilt between the circuits evenly. It currently runs on 7 separate circuit breakers in my panel to keep things from tripping.
How much does this cost you? Last year cost me about $55 more on my electrical bill. I do have a few more lights this year though so the bill will likely be $5-10 higher. It draws 99.14 amps or 11,896 watts with everything in "on" mode which equates to $0.71/hour. The actual electrical usage is much lower though since the lights mostly blink and aren't always turned on. I'd guess actual show time cost is 1/3 of that.
How tall is the star on your roof? It's about 6.5 ft tall. It holds 190 C9 clear bulbs and draws 11 amps when turned on.
How does this all work? It's all accomplished with hardware/software from Light-O-Rama (ww.lightorama.com) which runs off my computer. I currently have 96 separate channels of computer control that can be turned on/off.
How many people come see your show? There's no way to know for sure. In 2006, the Statesman actually wrote up a big article on me and put my photo in the paper, etc. Boy, the traffic was crazy that year. I counted 24 parked cars one night.
With all the time and money you put into purchasing your lights, putting them up, taking them down, storing them, and paying for power, is there any way you will accept donations? I mean, I'd give you a few bucks for entertaining me and my family. No. But this year because so many people have asked that question, we are accepting donations to the Idaho Food Bank. There's a barrel on the front porch where you can place canned goods and a lock box for cash donations all for the Food Bank.
Does your neighborhood HOA hold a holiday lights contest, and if so, are you even allowed to enter? Yeah, I've won first place every year since 2005. I've got my fingers crossed for 2008.