Christmas in Lloydminster officially starts Saturday night at Jerry Frank’s house.
Frank lives at 5704 30 Street where he is ready to wow the neighbourhood with his home light-and-sound show.
This will be his third annual Lights and Sounds of Christmas House event that has grown from 14,000 lights, to the current 40,000 bulbs.
“We just enjoy Christmas and we decided one year to do a bit more with Christmas lights and it just snowballed from there,” said Frank.
“It just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I’m assuming everybody will be here with bells on to enjoy it because it’s very fun to just peek out the window during the season and see cars lined up, as many as we can squeeze in kind of thing.”
Frank expects a crowd of up to 250 people for launch night, starting at 6:45 p.m. Saturday.
Bleachers will be set up across the street and the city is allowing him to block off a section to traffic.
“It’s going to be like an over-sized block party,” Frank said.
Volunteers will be collecting non-perishable food items for the Salvation Army Food Bank with a matching contribution from Safeway.
Cash donations can also be made for Big Brothers Big Sisters Lloydminster, The Goat FM’s Christmas Wish and Lloyd FM’s Gift of Christmas.
“I would love to see $4,000 come in, but with the economy we’ll see how that turns out,” said Frank, who noted he wants to build on the $2,300 raised last year.
“Every year there are and more people coming by so hopefully, the increase in traffic will offset the downturn in the economy.”
After the launch, the show will run every night until early in the new year when Frank will start to plan for the next season.
“For me Christmas didn’t end since last year because I’ve been working pretty much for this year’s show since January,” he laughed.
“Usually, if I can think of a feature or something like that that I want to add to make the show better, then I figure out what I need in order to do that and proceed with it from there.”
Frank and a team of family-related elves have been working since early October to install and synchronize the AC lighting system, purchased from Light-O-Rama.
His package now includes a set of 16 residential, 16-channel AC light controllers, software, adapters and cables linked to a Windows-based computer.
“I have over 250 channels that I use to control the various lights,” said Frank.
“I can turn on one light or a 1,000 lights or a 100,000 lights or whatever I want to do at the time.
All the lights are synchronized to popular Christmas songs.
“I can adjust which lights come on at what times in the songs,” Frank said.
“I’m not really that computer tech savvy myself, (but) it’s a very easy program that I have to use (and) it’s easy enough that even I can do it.”
He advises other do-it-yourself people that there are lights out now that can be controlled with a smart phone.
“It’s great for someone who wants to do a little more but doesn’t want to go as crazy as I do,” Frank said.
As for his power bill, the Christmas-spirited homeowner says because the lights are LEDs, the cost to run them is way less than the lights themselves, which he buys during post holiday sales in Lloydminster.
So far, he has amassed more than 1.5 km of extension cords to connect the controllers.
Preparing for launch night takes hundreds of man hours of programming, set up and testing, but the end result is worth it for those involved.
“Just seeing Jerry out here kinda gets everyone in the Christmas spirit,” said Owen Hozack, Frank’s son-in law who likes to help out when he can.
Hozack described the nighttime view as “a pretty cool” show. “Jerry loves his Christmas, his whole family does,” he said.
“Me and the kids will come out. They are a lot of people who come out.”
Family friend Jordon Maier who pitches in with the set up added, “It’s a good time. When people are driving past you can see them turning their heads and look at the house - what we’re doing.”
As for what Frank’s wife thinks of it, he said “She thinks I’m a little nuts but she likes it too.”