Christmas lights up Blackfalds

Blackfalds resident Andy Holzli described himself as a “blinky, flashy kind of guy.”

Choreographed lights flash at Andy Holzli’s home at 5215 Lawton Avenue in Blackfalds Thursday night.

Choreographed lights flash at Andy Holzli’s home at 5215 Lawton Avenue in Blackfalds Thursday night.

Blackfalds resident Andy Holzli described himself as a “blinky, flashy kind of guy.”

Whenever a rock band passed through Alberta with a light or laser show, Holzli would be in the audience, transfixed by the display.

“If it blinked or flashed, I was there,” he admitted, with a chuckle.

So it’s no surprise that Holzli, the local fire chief, is getting the maximum wattage out of Christmas.

He has painstakingly programmed some 8,400 Christmas lights on his house to flash in time to 22 Christmas songs — everything from Mannheim Steamroller’s manic Deck the Halls to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s overblown ode to The Nutcracker, A Mad Russian’s Christmas.

“The more poppy stuff works better with the lights,” said Holzli, who believes his property is among only six in Alberta with similar music-themed light shows.

Anyone driving by the residence at 5212 Lawton Avenue in Blackfalds can hear the music that accompanies the flashing lights by either rolling down a window or tuning in to 92.1 FM on the car radio.

Holzli has a small, English-made FM transmitter that broadcasts within a half-block radius of his house — that way, motorists can listen to the music without having to let gusts of cold air into their vehicles. “You can stay warm . . . it’s kind of a nice add-on,” he said.

Sharing his blinky, flashy obsession with the world has meant taking on a big commitment.

Holzli spent an astonishing 20 hours ­­— per song — on the computer, programming the lights to keep time to the music.

“It takes 320 switches per second” to sequence the music programming, he said.

It also took time to put up all the lights, and make sure they look aesthetically pleasing.

Holzli credits his wife, Tania, for being his design consultant. “She tells me if it sucks or looks good.”

The result has enough wow-factor to draw a steady stream of traffic, thanks in part, to plugs from local radio stations.

Funnily enough, Holzli has caught viewers dashing off if they catch him glancing back at them from out of his living room window.

“People are a little shy. I guess this is something that’s unique to the area . . . but they should realize that to get to this level takes a lot of commitment. We want people to watch it!

The display that goes to Jan. 1 will hopefully keep folks in the Christmas mood, he said. “And it’s for us too. We enjoy doing it.”

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

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