What do you do when you have a big lawn, a background in electronics, and some extra time on your hands?
If you’re Shawn and Dayna Stone, you spend six weeks making an interactive Christmas display with 4,000 LED lights.
“The idea was more of my husband’s,” Dayna said. “He always said, ‘Oh, we’re going to put up Christmas lights. Let’s just add something, add something.’ All of a sudden this kind of exploded. It’s been awesome.”
“I just had a lot of free time and wanted to do something with my kids and the neighbours,” Shawn said. “I figured some people would come out and enjoy it and it would give a break and some happiness to people.”
Their house has become the “talk of the town,” according to Dayna, with hundreds of cars coming to their house in Anola, Man., just east of Winnipeg in the rural municipality of Springfield.
WATCH | 4,000-LED interactive Christmas display:
Shawn has some background to help out his idea: he spent 14 years in the military as an avionics technician.
“Not that that has nothing to do with programmable lights, but the wiring and the electronic side of it is similar,” he said. “It’s a steep learning curve. But once you get it, it’s pretty fun.”
Shawn even picked up an FM transmitter so people can tune their car radio and listen to the accompanying music of the 32-minute light show.
“A lot of parents have said that they’ve dragged their kids out here and the entire way they were bored, didn’t want to go. And then they got here and didn’t make a peep for half an hour,” Shawn said.
Dad out directing traffic
With 110 metres of frontage on his property, Shawn said some people still have to wait in line to see the show.
Shawn said his kids Ayden, 9, and Carter, 8, rush to the window to see how many cars have shown up.
Last Saturday they had more than 400 vehicles came to check it out, creating a bit of a traffic jam.
“My dad had to come out because there were cars all around … my dad had to come patrol traffic,” Ayden said.
“It took two hours to do all the people,” Carter said.
With all those bright lights, it also required a little bit of creativity so the kids can still make bedtime.
“My dad just put a board in my window,” Ayden said.
Accepting donations for local families in need
With all those cars, Dayna came up with the idea to collect donations of non-perishable food, clothing and toys to make Christmas hampers for local families in need.
The bin at the front of the driveway keeps filling up.
“We have to empty it two to three times a night,” she said.
Next year, Shawn hopes to more than triple the number of lights, and that’s OK with the neighours — especially his in-laws who live next door.
“They want me to go bigger next year,” he laughed.
If you’re interested in checking out the light show, it will run until at least Jan. 4 every night from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m.
If you want to avoid a wait, the family recommends you come later in the evening or avoid the weekends. The house is located at 33087 Suthwyn Road in Anola. Heads up: Google Maps will take you the wrong direction.
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