5 of the Country’s Best Holiday Light Displays

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Photo credit: Greg Zimmerman
Christmas Boat Parade by Greg Zimmerman
Balboa Island, Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach, California is home of the annual 'Christmas Boat Parade', known as one of the ten best Christmas viewing events in the country. This award-winning house, located on Balboa Island in the middle of the Newport Harbor, is visited by thousands each year.

There is animated action galore. While Christmas carols play, 'snow' drifts from the rooftop dispensed from a manufactured snow machine. On the roof, Santa waves from a chopper with rotating blades and a gingerbread man jumps on a lighted trampoline. Lighted wheels rotate on a choo-choo train; a tin soldier drums his drums; a snowman tips his hat; a gyrating Santa Claus dances; and an illuminated Hula Dancer' wiggles back and forth.

The house is anchored on one side by a 25-foot green blinking Christmas tree. On the other side, the 8-foot-wide chimney is draped in a carpet of red lights mixed with white lights that vertically spell 'Balboa Island.' Blinking candy canes, stockings, bells, and snowflakes add to the fun. There are 24,000 light bulbs in all.

Photo credit: Jeff Trykoski
Frisco, TX
The Trykoski homein Frisco is home to one of the original and largest residential computerized Christmas light displays in north Texas.

The 2008 Christmas display consisted of roughly 65,000 lights which were computer controlled and synchronized to music. The lights were synchronized to several songs which are broadcast to passing vehicles over a low-power FM transmitter.

The display has grown steadily over the past several years. In 2004, the Trykoskis took the display 'to the next level' with the addition of computer-control and music in 2004. They continue to raise the holiday bar with an updated display each year.

Photo credit: Dick Norton
Winter Wonderland by Dick Norton
Burbank, CA
The Norton family has been celebrating the holidays in Burbank with elaborate decorations since the early 1970's. Their nationally recognized display has been featured on several television stations and publications. What makes the display so unique is the large, animated attractions been a favorite with the thousands of visitors who have come over the years to enjoy the display in person.

Children especially enjoy watching the merry-go-round and its dancing horses, the flying swings with the Christmas bears, the ferris wheel, hammer and other carnival-like attractions.

Three separate sound systems provide the background music, as well as separate music tracks for the train and merry-go-round sounds. In 2009, digital animation will be added to the attractions.

One of the unique aspects of the display is the live streaming webcam and mic provided for visitors. They can call relatives anywhere in the world and direct them to a website where they can be seen in front of the display, and be wished a Merry Christmas.

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Photo credit: Keith LaPrath
Winter Snowland by Keith LaPrath
Burbank, CA
Creating an elaborate Christmas display has been a Keith LaPrath tradition for years. He built his first Christmas display in 1988. Each year, Winter Snowland, his award-winning display, grew in size and in power. Today the display covers just about every inch of his front yard and most of the roof. It takes a lot of work to plan out where everything will be placed. The electrical wiring has to be planned carefully because the display consumes a lot of power -- about 70 amps! As you can imagine, LaPrath gets a shock in January when the power bill arrives from the City of Burbank.<br.
LaPrath starts setting up the display on Nov 1st every year. It takes about 4 weeks to complete.

Photo credit: Ron Lister
Christmas Wonder by Ron Lister
Kissimmee, Florida
For the past 19 years, Ron Lister’s Christmas Wonders display has sparkled in Kissimmee, Florida. He uses 45,000 lights. The display has been synchronized to music for the past 10 years.

All of the large display items are handcrafted from scratch, including the 18-foot-tall palm trees palm trees made from PVC pipe, the large Christmas packages made from PVC pipe and rope light, and the many stars that outline the yard, which are made out of Coroplast©. He also made the drum with animated drumsticks, which looks like his inflatable Teddy Bear is playing the drum.

The show stoppers of the display are the large candles that he designed last year, which are made out of Corplast© and rope light.

Last year he redesigned his Mega Tree to have layers going up and down instead of spinning around in a circle. The new tree has a rope light on each ring, as well as 35 strobes.

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