Lighting up the festive season

Snowmen frolic in bumper cars and Santa Claus rides the ferris wheel nightly in Andy and Dawn Legault’s front yard.

Snowmen frolic in bumper cars and Santa Claus rides the ferris wheel nightly in Andy and Dawn Legault’s front yard.

For the past 10 Christmas seasons, the Red Deer couple has festooned their property at 234 Cornett Drive in Clearview with dozens of lit-up decorations — from gingerbread men to penguins, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer to North Pole elves.

Last year, there was a religious focus with a baby and manger scene. This year, the Legaults’ pre-school grandchildren will be visiting for Christmas, so there’s a kids’ theme — with a holiday Elmo making a special appearance and a Santa figure hanging comically from the roof eaves.

“We wanted to have a fun Christmas scene,” said Dawn Legault. “We had to figure out what we wanted to put out. …”

Many of the selected decorations have a retro feel, bringing back memories of Christmases past, including bow-tied teddy bears, snowmen on a moving porch swing, and the old-fashioned 1.5-metre-tall ferris wheel at the centre of the yard.

But the revolving ferris wheel is a new addition, handmade by Andy. “He just built it in November and it actually works — I’m very impressed!” said Dawn.

Although her husband has a full-time job, his hobby is coming up with something new for the Christmas display, she added, noting Andy plans to build a working merry-go-round before next Christmas.

All the decorations — (“we likely have hundreds of pieces,” estimates Dawn) — take two days to put out in mid-November, and then get stored away in sheds or the garage rafters after Jan. 2.

If storage space starts to run out, “we’ll just keep building more sheds,” she joked.

While Dawn’s parents used to decorate for Christmas when she was a child, it was never to this extent, she said with a chuckle.

Her 87-year-old mother now lives with the couple and enjoys seeing the bright, festive display outside the front window. “That’s why we do this — for the seniors and for the kids,” said Dawn. Her house is on the seniors’ bus tour that goes today and is sponsored by the Red Deer Kinsmen and Kinettes.

“We get a lot of comments, and sometimes we even get cards with people telling us they love it,” said Dawn of her family’s holiday gift to the community. “People take pictures of the yard or we see them videotaping their kids in front of the house. … It’s nice. I enjoy doing it.”

Many Christmas light displays can be observed around Red Deer, including:

l Other homes on Cornett Drive and Chappel Drive in Clearview;

l Baines Crescent and Barrett Drive in Bower;

l McConnell Close in Morrisroe (some of the backyard lights can be seen at the corner of 32nd Street and 40th Avenue);

l Judd Close in Johnstone Park;

l Farrell Avenue in Fairview;

l Robinson Crescent in Rosedale;

l Ohio Close in Oriole Park;

l The ice sculptures at Parkland Nurseries in Balmoral.

Of course, there’s also the colourful, impressive annual display at City Hall Park and the downtown.

If you see a Christmas display in Central Alberta that impresses you please email the address and community to so we can share the information with our readers. You may also email photographs in a jpg format in a large file.

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