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Christmas Spectacular on Main Street
We run one of the top Christmas Displays in the USA. Our display in 2012 is like a Broadway show with 75,000 lights dancing to the music while being controlled by 432 channels and 22,000 feet of extension cords! We have 15 songs ranging from the traditional to the "whimsical" Christmas songs for the kids. Our display is truly unique with our own designs including a 10,000 "Shooting Fountain of Light!" a 20 foot by 20 foot wall of snowflakes with 6,400 lights, a Mega tree which has 9,600 lights and our lawn has over 25,000 lights on it!
The shows are free, cash donations are accepted and 100% of all donations go to local charities. Our display runs from November 30th through December 31st with the 45 minute shows starting on the hour, 6, 7 and 8:00pm with all the lights on for the last 15 minutes. You can watch and listen to the show from the comfort of your car or up close from our lawn.
We also have two very special events in December:
- We have a 2011 Grammy nominated singer Judy Pancoast coming on December 8th to do a special live show with our display. Pancoast is visiting Cranbury as part of her third annual “The House on Christmas Street International Tour,” in support of her new CD, “Christmas with Mrs. Claus.” Concerts on the tour are performed on the lawns and in the driveways of the decorating enthusiasts who have become her biggest fans and use her music in their animated lighting displays. cranburychristmaslights.com is well known in the area for its magnificent annual display. This is the 2nd year that they have hosted Pancoast’s tour.
· We also have a visit from Santa one December 22nd to talk to kids with our display in the background!
Both of these events start at 7:00pm, are free to the public, plenty of off street parking available. Both are outside events, rain or shine, so dress warm! Hot chocolate and cookies to be served.
In 2011 we estimate over 6000 people came to see our display. In 2011 we collected nearly $3000 in cash and over$3000 in food. We also received from a national contest $5000 for our local school making our donation total Nearly $12,000.00!!
We are a New Jersey Non Profit to benefit the local food banks and charities. This is my sixth year for Christmas Spectacular on Main Street. Having volunteered my time with many different charitable organizations most of my life (which is also how I meet my wife by volunteering for an organization and meet her at a restaurant while helping with a project) when I moved to Cranbury I saw it as a perfect place to start my own endeavor. At the time I had 2 ½ year old and a 6 month old boys so I wanted to tie it into Christmas. That October I got onto the Internet and searched for the best Christmas displays in the world. All of the displays that I came up with used a system called Light-O-Rama which makes the lights dance to the music. I had been in the wine business for 20 years at the time, did not know a thing about programming lights and music and certainly did not know how to use this system but committed myself to learning, ordered the equipment and did a lot of reading over the next 30 days. In early November I received the equipment and the program to make it all work. The next 30 days was a huge learning curve, a lot of trial and error but by December 6th I had the first song up and running. In the next 10 days I had another 5 songs done. That first year I only had 15,000 light and 32 channels controlling them to the music. It was a HUGE success, we had 1000’s of people how came to see our display. It was by the end of that December that I decided to make it bigger the next year and each year since I have added onto the display.
It was after that first year that I decided to pick a charity to support through our Christmas Display, my main focus was to target an organization that focused on kids. Having volunteered personally at many charities I know there are so many worth ones to pick from but I wanted to help kids and in a way that every days needs would be meet. I know that as wealthy as New Jersey is, there are 1000’ s of kids that go to bed every day with little or no food at all. I selected a local food bank that targets middle class families where one or both of the parents have lost their jobs or are in temporary housing. A good majority of the food this organization collects goes to kids. The organization is called “He Cares we Care”, they can be contacted at 609-799-9000 for a phone interview to get more details on what they do and how we support them.
Now into my sixth year besides my friends and neighbors who help I now have two very able volunteers to assist me. My two boys, Alexander who is 7 and Kristopher who is 5 are helping me constantly. Alexander’s favorite job is helping me test the lights. With 75,000 lights there are always missing bulbs or strings that are not working, he is very good at finding every one of those missing bulbs and fixing them! Kristopher’s favorite job is helping me with the 22,000 feet of extension cords and running them to the power supplies. They both also love helping me plug in the lights to the 432 power supplies and making sure they are the correct colors.
Questions we are often asked:
- How much does your electric bill go up? - Very little, we are a 99% green Christmas display nearly all of our lights are LED. We estimate our bill going up about 140 this year.
- How long does it take you to set up your display? I started November 1st and was done November 18th this year.
- How do you make the music and light go together? For every song every 1/10 of a second I tell 432 sets of lights what to do, turn on, off, fade up or down, twinkle etc. It takes me over 30 days to program one song. Every year we add 4 brand new songs!
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