Decades long light show spreads holiday cheer

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Darryl Clark and his family simply love Christmas.

"It's my favorite holiday," Clark said. "I just think it's a great time of the year."

More than 20 Christmases ago, Clark and his family started decorating their home because everyone was doing it, but it wasn't a major production.

"It was just lights on the eve of the house and the windows. It was very small," he explained.

The Clark family's devotion for the holidays runs so deep that two years ago, when his family was rebuilding their new home on Elliot Road, they had a 'Christmas room' built in. That's where the yearly tradition is created.

The Clarks no longer just hangs lights. The tradition has dramatically evolved into a month-long synchronized drive-by light show for everyone. Clark said cars are normally lined up in front of the house for most of the night.

"They'll move in and out and some will stay for the whole show and some will stay just for a song," he added.

Clark, an electrical engineer, said he and his family start setting up and testing lights in October for the 12-song show. The show includes songs like "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "The 12 Pains of Christmas."

Clark said the hardest part isn't setting up the show.

"It's programming the songs. One song that is three minutes could take me 40 hours because I have to tell each light what to do and when to do it," he said.

The lights change color with each word or beat and if you look really close, you can see Olaf the snowman from the hit movie 'Frozen.' That's one of the community favorites, along with LSU's pregame song, which was thrown in about four years ago when the light show's popularity took off.

But Clark said he never thought decorations would leave an impact on strangers where they would begin to remember his address.

"I was getting a prescription filled and someone was behind me and I said my address and she said, 'Are you the Christmas house?'" he explained.

Community members have even told Clark they've grown up watching his family's light show.

He said he hopes his two children take up the tradition in a few years, but until then, don't worry, the light show will live on.

"I think it's the people now. In the beginning, it was just for us, but now, we get cards from people we don't know, letters from people that we don't know. I think we do it for that now. Everyone looks forward to it," he said.

The light show will run until New Years Day.

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.