2014-12-17 / Front Page

It's glow time!

Residents ramp up the holiday cheer with decked out displays
By Anne Marie Kyzer


Vince Vassello jokingly imitates the movie character Clark Griswold while posing in front of his Cohen Road home, which has a lights display set to music. Editor's note: These cords were not plugged into a power source. Vince Vassello jokingly imitates the movie character Clark Griswold while posing in front of his Cohen Road home, which has a lights display set to music. Editor's note: These cords were not plugged into a power source. It’s no surprise he’s a big fan of the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Every Thanksgiving, after they push away from the dinner table, Vince Vassello and his family settle in to watch the Christmas comedy, much of which centers on main character Clark Griswold’s over-the-top lights display.

But by that time, Vince has already been working for months on his own fantastic display at their home on the corner of Cohen Road and Crestridge Drive north of Waynesboro.

Complete with more than 5,000 lights framing every corner of his home’s façade, a candy cane parade in the front yard and colorfully lit trees, all of the glowing decorations dance to tunes he’s programmed on the FM transmitter he stows in his attic. Passersby can tune in to his station, 100.1 FM, in their cars and watch in wonder as the lights flicker and fade in harmony with the music.

He’s been offering his musical displays for years, even before he and his wife Amy moved here from Ohio three years ago for his job at Plant Vogtle. Over the past couple of years, though, he’s decided to step it up a notch.

Since his lights began glowing the day after Thanksgiving this year, cars have been slowing or even stopped in front of the Vassello home to take in the show.

This Saturday, Vince hopes for more visitors than ever as he and fellow members of the Knights of Columbus host a benefit for the Salvation Army. They’ll collect donations and offer plenty of hot chocolate and other refreshments to those who stop by. “I enjoy bringing happiness to the people who stop and watch the lights through the season, so why not use it to give more?” Vince says.


Larry Vickery has a shed full of Christmas lights and air blows he uses to create his display on Spring Valley Road. Larry Vickery has a shed full of Christmas lights and air blows he uses to create his display on Spring Valley Road. Across town at the corner of Spring Valley Road and Oak Lane, Larry Vickery is plugging in his own crowdpleasing display. His yard is filled with more than half a dozen gigantic glowing air blows and light strands wrapped around most of the stationary objects in sight. Cars slow as they pass and children have been known to beg their parents to make special trips by the Vickery house to catch a glimpse of the display, which can be seen more than a block away.

Larry’s been offering his show for more than a decade, becoming quite the connoisseur of outdoor Christmas décor along the way.

After all, these displays can get pricey when you’re filling up the yard with them, and the air blows have to be replaced every couple of years. So Larry likes to build up his inventory whenever he sees a deal.

“The lights end up dirt cheap after Christmas. I have bunches that have never been opened. I pick up some here and some there, and the next thing you know, you have shed full,” he laughs, adding that a shopper can find those pricey air blows discounted pretty deep after Christmas as well. “For as many air blows as I have in the yard, I have that many in the shed.”

Outdoor outlets have been wired especially for plugging in the multitude of extension cords, and they connect to different circuits in the house to keep the display from tripping breakers. Larry’s pretty much maxed out in terms of his electric capacity and, well, his real estate. So don’t look for the display to necessarily grow any bigger but rest assured there will be quite a few changes from year to year.

“The only way I can go bigger is to put another Georgia Power box out there,” he quips, “…but I don’t have any more yard.”

BE A CHEERFUL GIVER

Salvation Army Benefit Event
Hosted by: Vince Vassello and fellow members of the Sacred Heart Church’s Knights of Columbus.
When: Saturday, Dec. 20
Time: 6-9:30 p.m.
What: Donations will be accepted in the Salavation Army’s
trademark red kettle. Refreshments will also be available
while supplies last.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Vince uses specially designed software that works much
like a music track system. He uses a master controller on
his computer to script changes in the lights during the songs,
and the light controllers receive signals from the master
controller through a network cable. Vince has spent countless hours over the past year and a half programming the
sequences for the show.
His FM transmitter provides music for the display when
passers-by tune in to his frequency, 100.1 FM.
Putting up the lights generally takes a couple of days. His
lights are wired into outlets in his attic to cut down on extension cords on the house’s façade, but to rig all those lights
in the yard, he still relies on about 1,250 feet of custom cord
wired specifically for his display.

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