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It seems like every year, when I get around to writing the highlights for the following season I usually start out with, ‘what a great time we had…’, but, WOW, 2011 really was special in so many ways.

To begin with, we learned in September that we had won Light-O-Rama’s 2010 contest for the largest display category.  Being  recognized by them was very special to us.  You can watch the winning video here:
Here is the link to Light-O-Rama

Christmas Lights from Timothy J Gay on Vimeo.

In late October, Kim Hart contacted me and asked if I would be interested in doing a segment for a show that Cablevision broadcasts in quite a few counties, including:   Dutchess, Westchester, Rockland and Orange.   Back in 2009, Kim had contacted us to do a segment to air just in Dutchess County and she did a great job, so we said, ‘sure’.
Kim visited us in November, to video us setting up the display and creating the voice over introduction to our display.  She returned again in late November to film the display and interview us, along with several visitors.  She managed to tell the essence of our story in less than 5 minutes and you can watch this segment here: 2011 Newscast

Along the way, Kim has also worked with us to video tape 5 songs per year from many different angles to try to capture a better perspective of the display and those videos are also available on Youtube.

Over the past few years, as both the display and visitors have grown, many kind folks have stopped to offer contributions to us.  We never felt comfortable with this and always declined.   I did consider engaging different organizations to accept contributions but never committed to it as I was reluctant to make anyone feel obligated to give, because the display has always been our ‘gift’.  Well, in 2010, we had soooo many folks try to make contributions that I finally decided to do something in 2011. We thought a lot about this and we decided that we really wanted to engage an organization within our local community.  In mid-Novemeber, I asked Grace to contact the Union Vale Fire Department and to ask them if they would be
interested in collecting donations and to also help us better manage the traffic.   They accepted, although I think they were a little uncertain about what kind of reception and success they would have.  They told us they would have to put it to a vote, on December 20th.   I was a little disappointed because this meant the window of opportunity would be very small and I thought the donations would be much less than they could be.  Everyone sure proved us wrong, as in a matter of only 6 nights, 3-4 hours per night, the Fire Department collected over $8,500, far exceeding all of our expectations.  We can’t thank everyone enough and the UVFD informed us that this money is being used to provide immediate assistance to any family experiencing a fire and also for educational purposes at local schools.   They will return in 2012.  The town has also been very responsive in helping with traffic management and our Constable was there most nights helping to ensure no road blockage.  We really appreciated the support as we want this to remain safe for everyone.

We added some nice elements to our display in 2011.  Back in 2010, we added C**2, which was 15, 4x4 foot squares, with white, blue and red lights.  These were so impressive in ‘chases’ that we decided to expand them in 2011 and increased the quantity to 19, and added the color green to them.  Daniel also wanted to add a triangle so we designed an equilateral triangle with 48 channels, and the colors red, blue and green.
  While designing this we realized that we could create a pinwheel in the center of the triangle and this worked wonderfully and is probably one of the best elements we ever added.   We added some more ornaments like stars and circles and also a teardrop gold tree.  But the BEST element ever, was unplanned and not designed by me.  Daniel, unbeknownst to me had started a hobby of staff spinning.  He came up with the idea of putting lights on the ends of the staff and he would go outside and spin in front of the triangle or rectangle.  Many guests stopped to chat with him and thank him, and our favorite was the little girl that told him he was sexy and he knew it :D!   Hopefully, Dan, aka Spinster, will return in 2012.  You can watch his demonstration video here: Dan Free-Style Staff Spinning


Most of the choreography has been completed by me over the years.  Dan and John have been doing more of it as they have gotten older.  As most folks know, U2 has been one of the inspirations for our display.  In 2011, John choreographed a U2 song.  Everyone who saw his work was stunned as it truly is amazing and his U2 song is the best one ever choreographed to our display.  You can watch his video here: New Years Day

We had many great times with friends and family. The weekend of December 10th was our ‘AR’ weekend, when sistar M’AR’, sister K’AR’ and niece, Sh’AR’, all visited. It just so happened that on the 10th, our nice new neighbors Rob and Annie were over visiting and we were enjoying some fine wine.  After the light show ended, I decided to put on an U2 dvd for Annie and Rob.  I had forgotten that Mar and Don, had already gone up to bed, in the room above the family room.  Naturally, they were a little shocked when the floor started shaking!   On the last night of the display, December 27th I had a visit from a very dear friend from High School.  I had not seen Lisa since 1980 and was so happy when she made the trek up from the Rochester area to see the display and visit.

On December 22nd, we had the privilege of visiting Annie, Bill and Woodman, at the K104 studios.  They could not have been any nicer, and we really enjoyed our time with them.  You can listen to the audio clip her: K104 Audio

After all that fun, it was finally time to take the display down, starting the morning of December 28th.   Not only were we blessed with the warmest temperatures ever, but also with some extra help.  Rob, our next door neighbor came over and spent the whole first day helping with the takedown.  There was also a young gentleman observing us that first morning, so after a while I asked him if he would like to help.   11 year old Jake was amazing and spent the next 3 ½ days helping us take the display down in it’s entirety. In speaking with him we learned that he is also a Christmas light enthusiast and has a fine display just down the road.  Jake also ‘knew’ our website better than we did! And lastly, much to my delight, daughter Emily decided to help with the take down this year and was with us the entire time.  Accomplishing the take down in 3 ½ days was wonderful and really sets the bar high for 2012.

This year, the story didn’t end with the take down.   In mid-January I was surprised to receive a large envelope from the Dutchess County Legislature.  When I opened it, I found this letter and certificate.  Needless to say, we were all very touched to receive this and really appreciate it.