Taking Christmas spirit to a new levelPublished 10:38am Wednesday, December 23, 2009
By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star
Gus Griswold, Tim Taylor, eat your hearts out.
Neighbors Walt Jackson and Cory McBain on 13th Street in Niles have teamed up the past four years to provide one of the more extravagant light displays in the area, one that can be seen all the way on M-51.
Jackson said the bulk of his lights were purchased on an impulse buy at an after-Christmas sale at Lowe’s a few years back.
“Everything was 75 percent off, so I bought three truckloads,” said Jackson. “I figured I got $3,000-worth of stuff for 350 or 400 bucks.”
Jackson said he starts putting up the lights in October every year and finishes the elaborate display, which includes a series of lit-up arches in his drive way, a moving train and teeter-totter, by Thanksgiving. It’s a display that he adds to each Christmas.
Jackson, who is retired, says the light display is a fun project for him each year and a way to spread holiday cheer to the community.
Jackson and McBain and their families say they do it all for the kids who come by to see the lights.
McBain even dresses up as Santa Claus on weekends and gives out candy canes and small toys to families that drive by.
They estimate that 125 to 200 people come each night on the weekend to see the lights and visit Santa. Jackson said many people can see the glowing houses from M-51 and come by to stare at the marvel.
“We’ve had people come from as far as Three Rivers to see it,” Jackson said.
McBain and Jackson were out Tuesday night for the Dial-a-Ride lights tour. McBain, dressed as Santa, got on each bus to spread some holiday cheer to the elderly.
Even though not as many people came by that night, it was still worth it for them.
“We can sit out here in the cold for hours, but to see one kid smile like that, it’s all worth it,” McBain said after seeing a smiling family stop to look at the lights.