Tom and Jo Straub have prided themselves on their elaborate Christmas light display for years. Only recently have they started using it to raise money for a good cause.
The couple has transformed the front yard of their Leeway Overlee area house, located at 5612 24th Street N., into a “dancing” light show synchronized to 15 of their favorite Christmas songs.
The display contains some 10,000 LED lights, which blink and “dance” with the music. The tunes can be heard from speakers outside the house and via a low-power radio station they set up for people who’d rather stay in their cars with the windows up. The station can be found at 98.1 on the FM dial.
The lights have been on display since Thanksgiving night and will be on every night through New Years Day. The show runs from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Santa Claus (as played by Mr. Straub) is on hand from 6:00 to 8:00 on most nights.
Not only are the lights fun to watch, but they’re also helping to raise money for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. A small mailbox near the street collects cash donations for the AWLA, as well as donations of pet food, pet beds, toys and other pet supplies. Once a donation is made, the donor can reward themselves by hitting a button near the mailbox for a small bonus light show.
Last year was the couple’s first year collecting for the AWLA. Tom Straub said they collected $1,100 for the organization, and hopes to raise even more this year.
Straub said the display requires about 2,000 feet of extension cords and takes all year to plan. He said the outdoor speakers turn off at 8:00 and he hasn’t heard any serious complaints from neighbors this year. He has, however, received a complaint about his Santa-like beard, which he started growing in June 2011.
“The wife is fed up with it, so it’s coming off on the 24th,” he said.