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Hobbyists light up Central Florida neighborhoods

Group of extreme Christmas decorators take light displays to the next level

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If you've ever gone cruising in December looking for Christmas light displays, then you know there is always one house that stands out above the rest.

[WEB EXTRA: Light O Rama | Planet Christmas ]

Don Weaver lives in that house.

A few years ago Weaver began decorating his house with computer-controlled lights that turned off and on to the beat of holiday music. It was a small display at first but it's grown to include over 100,000 lights and nearly 10,000 feet of extension cord.

He's one of a group of hobbyists that spend the year planning, programming and buying props that will set their house apart from the crowd.

"You always find something new to add," he says.  Just like any other hobby it can get addicting.  

New this year, Weaver added lasers that light up his stately oaks, casting a blanket of stars over his house. He also added a row of "light poles" that send a rainbow of light up and down a path leading to his backyard.

All of it was made possible because of companies like Light-O-Rama, that  specialize in the software and hardware that allows people like Weaver to synchronize their lights to music.

Hobby forums like Planet Christmas also give members ideas and offer help with technical questions.  

Weaver is the first to admit he's not a computer wiz. "I know computers enough to do emails and stuff. I didn't know how to program anything."

But he's managed to master the software, putting on a light show that brings visitors from around the world.  "We're averaging about 200 cars a night. Next week it will probably be 300 to 400."

Calvin Slater, of Celebration, lives a stone's throw from  Disney and he puts on a light show that nearly rivals his Mouse House neighbor.

Slater not only decorates his own house but 10 of his neighbors' homes as well

"This year we tried to get a 360-degree display so people could stand in the street and see something going on all around them," he says.

Slater uses the light show as a way to help local families in need. He collects canned food for the Kissimmee-based charity - Celebration 34747 Cares.

The entire show lasts an hour and fifteen minutes. Slater has movie projection, water features and even a fire and fog display.

You can view the shows at the following addresses:

1033 Jeater Bend Drive
Celebration, FL 34747

and

3832 Marquise Lane
Mulberry, Fl 33860 


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