Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More than just lights on a house

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.


Kaylynn said...

Awesome! I miss everyone.

Jenny ESP said...

But you need to post a video of it for the people who live in Las Vegas, otherwise they'll never see it in action.

Emi said...

And the people who live in basically an American foreign country where Snow is a foreign concept

Smullin Family said...

On my cousin's blog, they had a video of a house similar to this..and they live in Utah. Can you just buy lights and a program to do this?
My friend also had a video on her blog...is this becoming "a thing"?

Amanda said...

Smullin Family, I don't know if it's going to become a thing because it's pretty complicated to set up. Mr. Denning is kind of a tech nerd (no offense.)

Camille said...

Wow, This is cool. We are totally going to go see it. Thanks for letting us know.

Smullin Family said...

We went on Christmas Eve..it was really neat. Thanks for telling us about it!

frqtflyr said...

It's all dark at the Denning House so far this year. Like, no one home dark. And no sign of the lights. Anyone know if they've moved, or how to reach them? Their Christmas Lights have become a favorite of my family, and we go every year - usually more than once.

Amanda said...

I should have said something sooner, I am so sorry that I didn't think of it..... the Denning family is taking this year off from doing their Christmas light show. Darnit. Maybe next year. I'll keep everyone posted when I find out.

Amanda said...

But they definitely haven't moved. Just a little burned out (no pun intended).

- Tristin - said...

FYI- The Denning's HAVE moved from this house as of Spring 2011! :( Hopefully they'll try it at their new house! IT WAS MORE THAN AWESOME! ...but, it took A LOT of work to pull off!

Amanda said...

Yes, you are right. They did take a year off and then the next year they moved. They just recently had twin girls so I'm not sure when we will see another light show. I'll keep you all posted if he does and give you his new address. But yes, they have moved. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I should have posted something on here but I forgot.