NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 16, 2009

Local man's light show bigger and better than ever

AMESBURY — There are few in town who would quibble with the fact that nobody decorates a house for the holidays like John Edmunds. His enthusiasm for creating an unrivaled front lawn light display each holiday season is so great that his wife refers to him as Father Christmas.

For the third year in a row, Edmunds is inviting passers-by to enjoy yet another spectacular Christmas display on his front lawn, where twinkling lights, Frosty the Snowman and Currier and Ives all come together to treat everyone who happens down Old County Road after nightfall.

"It's up to 40,000 lights now," said Edmunds yesterday afternoon, likening the synchronized show to something one must see to believe.

He describes a static scene that comes alive at 7 p.m. nightly, controlled via computer code from his home office, where lights fade up and down on cue, on and off according to his wishes, and dance to the beat of a programmed musical compilation Edmunds creates from February to the day after Thanksgiving. It drew thousands of appreciative families to his home last year, and he invites one and all to come out and see the show through Christmas Day, he said.

"We do the whole thing for Toys for Tots, to get people to donate toys or cash to that program," said Edmunds of his annual effort. "We try to generate as much interest and repeat people to come back year after year so we can increase the amount of donations every year."

Guests who come out to see the special show are asked to donate an unwrapped toy for the program, which delivers toys to children who might not otherwise have a toy to open on Christmas Day. Edmunds raised $500 and collected 500 toys last year, which gives him additional incentive to pursue a hobby he's enjoyed for 17 years since moving to his Old County Road home.

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