Most people wait until the day after Thanksgiving to even start putting up their lights. Yet, a few residents of Anna start laying their decorations out earlier in time to present the lights to the community on Black Friday.
Todd Engles lives in The Falls neighborhood of Anna and has been setting up his spectacular decorations for the past five years. He said he does the lights for the residents.
“I do it for the Christmas spirit, and the joy it brings,” said Engles.
Engles begins decorating at the beginning of November, as it takes a few weeks to put up the over 25,000 lights his display boasts. Engles said he added some light posts, a wreath and some snowflakes to his 2017 display.
The event, dubbed “Deck the Falls,” officially began the Friday after Thanksgiving. Santa and Mrs. Claus joined the festivities and passed out candy to the children. At 6:30 p.m. sharp, Engles kicked off the Christmas spirit by lighting the exhibit, eliciting many ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the on-lookers.
Engles also has a spot for Christmas letters to Santa — every child will receive a response — and there is an area to drop off donations for the ‘Pay It Forward’ charity.
Karista Cripe brought her 2-year-old daughter to see the display. “It is amazing to see such a beautiful display,” she said. “It amazes me that this was done by a Realtor, not somebody in electronics.”
Another couple, on the other side of town also joined the fun. Jen and Jon Driewer started their interactive display in 2015. Jen said they also start decorating early. “My husband and I start putting our lights up around Halloween,” she said. “We like to be done by the Friday after Thanksgiving to be able to turn them on.”
The Driewers have an interactive tree. Jen said the tree and eaves are both HolidayCoro, a Christmas lighting company. The tree is equipped with four pre-programmed songs and graphics. Jen said she is trying to learn to program the tree herself. “I want to be able to program the tree with more songs and graphics, so the tree can have more than just four songs,” she said. “That only equals to about twenty minutes a cycle.”
The display has the traditional Christmas items, candy canes, and presents. It also has a few unique touches, such as two Eiffel Towers that light up.
There were several people at the Driewers who admired the display and hard work it took to put it up.
“It’s a beautiful display,” said onlooker Matthew Whitt. “I just wouldn’t have the patience to do something like that.”