Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Ron Lister's home at 1642 Sunburst Way, Kissimmee is a true marvel. His home is adorned with more than 50,000 lights synchronized to music, which plays through your car radio. Reader's Digest magazine named it one of the country's best holiday displays in 2009. He even has his own website. Work began to set up the display back in October. Ron has been putting up this display for the past 25 years.
I arrived one hour before sunset to start my sketch. I used the final moments of daylight to block in the sketch with black line work on my tablet. As the sun set, I dimmed the screen and started painting. Mosquitoes buzzed in my ears. Ron came out and added Joseph and Mary to the inflatable manger scene. Then the lights flickered on. What makes this display so unique is the amazing amount of work that went into synchronizing the lights and music. Ron used a computer program that resembles an Excel spread sheet. Each row represented a colored string of lights. The program allowed him to turn on and off each set of lights in time to the music. It was much like the amount of work that goes into editing a movie.
The A frame above the garage had CDs that acted as reflectors for red bulbs. Ron said the center hole is the perfect width for the bulbs. The two palm trees are actually just PVC strung with icicle lights to create the illusion of palm fronds. The large Christmas tree is a series of hoops suspended from a pole capped with a large star. Periodically, cars would stop in the street and people would pile out to take photos of the display. Ron was there to answer anyone's questions. Sometimes he would ask a driver to turn off their headlights to avoid blinding others. He pointed out to me that the singer of one of the carols had just performed live in Celebration Florida. She travels the country performing at amazing Christmas displays. A sign in the driveway asked visitors to vote for this house in the Old Navy Griswold Lightacular Challenge. He got my vote.