Twinkle, twinkle: Christmas lights shine brightly
Come nightfall, streets and homes throughout Lee County will sparkle from bright red, blue and green lights while Santas and reindeer watch.
Don Perry has decorated his Rockwood Drive home in the Westlake Valley subdivision for more than 20 years.
"It started as something simple for my four children and it has expanded and expanded and expanded," he said. "I really enjoy it if it can bring a smile to a child's face."
Perry estimates he has more than 60,000 lights along with several inflatable candy canes, but said his favorite part is his Nativity scene.
"It's just one of those plastic Nativity scenes, but it's my highlight," he said. "I don't have a manger so I joke it's my redneck manger scene."
The lights tend to go up at the end of October and will be taken down at the first of the year, Perry said. What originally began as a way to entertain his four children has expanded to his grandchildren, the children in his neighborhood and the greater community.
"It's not a labor of anything except a labor of love," Perry said. "I just hope it brings about a smile, especially in today's times. You can't put a price tag on it."
In Tramway, trains, giant blow-ups, a nativity scene and hundreds of lights fill the parking lot and area surrounding the Carolina Witness's Fitness Center, located at 999 Center Church Road.
"We do it for the enjoyment of our customers and the community," said owner Dianne Foushee. "This is how we celebrate the season."
Foushee's husband, Frank, begins setting up the lights in late October and they'll stay up until the first of January, she said. There are many children who beg their parents to "circle the lot" several times before heading home, Foushee said.
People passing by can turn their radio to 100.5 FM to see the reindeer move and dance, synchronized to the radio station, she said.
"We do it for the kids," she said. "It's our gift back to them and for their enjoyment."