Small Christmas Lights Attract Huge Crowds: Circlewood Lights in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Jon Small, Christmas light expert, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Jon Small, Christmas light expert, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama

The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and dazzling light displays that illuminate the night. Near the University of Alabama in the heart of Tuscaloosa, one extraordinary display stands out – Circlewood Lights. I had the privilege of asking Jon Small, the creative mind behind this mesmerizing spectacle, to delve into the details of what makes Circlewood Lights the most attractive of Christmas light displays in Tuscaloosa. From the inspiration behind its creation to the challenges faced and the heartwarming moments it has brought Jon on a journey and passion of spreading holiday cheer that has taken this display to two states, four cities, and five different houses.

Meet Tuscaloosa’s Christmas Lights Expert: Jon Small

Our conversation began with an introduction to Jon Small, the man who brings Circlewood Lights to life. Full of enthusiasm and creativity, Jon is the mastermind behind every aspect of this captivating display. With over 10 years of accumulated experience starting in 2013, Jon offers visitors a very intentional experience through his Circlewood Lights display and is the Tuscaloosa Christmas lights attraction.

Look into Tuscaloosa Christmas Lights at Circlewood

A display often has a name that captures its essence. Jon fondly calls his creation “Circlewood Lights” a title that evokes a sense of magic and wonder based on its notorious address in Tuscaloosa. The name itself gives a sneak peek into the enchanting experience that visitors can expect. Located at 86 Circlewood in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Circlewood Lights is strategically situated to light up the holiday nights for the community and visitors. The full address is 86 Circlewood Tuscaloosa, AL 35405.

Full color Christmas lights covering Small home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Full color Christmas lights covering the Small home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

How Small Builds a Big Light Display in Tuscaloosa

While the display appears seamless to the spectators, there’s a lot that goes into its planning and setup. Surprisingly, Jon is a one-man team when it comes to planning and setting up the display. Despite this, he manages to create a breathtaking experience that brings joy to many. Setting up a display of this magnitude requires dedication. Jon invests approximately 20 hours each year to bring Circlewood Lights to life. The meticulous attention to detail is evident in every element of the display. In preparation of setup Jon spends several months building and sequencing the show to perfection.

Jon Small’s Christmas light display in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

For Jon, the most challenging aspect of his display is crafting perfect sequences to music. He emphasizes his aversion to repetitive effects and takes pride in assigning a unique role to each prop for every song. This dedication to creating a dynamic and engaging experience sets Circlewood Lights apart and provides visitors with hours of a non-repeating experience.

Have you ever wondered where all those decorations go when the holiday season ends? In Jon’s case, his attic serves as the storage space for the display’s decorations when they are not installed. It’s a testament to the thoughtfulness behind the display’s upkeep.

Jon is very thankful to visitors that donate. Donations have helped Circlewood Lights grow and improve year after year. If you plan to visit please consider contributing to this volunteer-driven community attraction.

Magical Lights Down the Road from the Magic City

A crucial element of any light display is, of course, the lights themselves. Circlewood Lights boasts an impressive array of lights – approximately 20,000 pixels and around 16,000 LEDs. This blend of traditional and modern lighting technologies contributes to the mesmerizing effect. Jon takes immense pride in sharing that Circlewood Lights is an all-custom creation. Every element of the display, from the intricate designs to the captivating sequences, is meticulously crafted by his hands.

Jon’s favorite part of Circlewood Lights is the house pixel panels. These dynamic panels add an extra layer of magic to the display, with full video features that mesmerize onlookers. The addition of a DMX rotating head beam light elevates the experience even further.

In a world conscious of energy consumption, Jon’s display takes a sustainable approach. By utilizing LEDs and DC voltage powered pixels, he ensures that the display’s magic doesn’t incur an excessive energy cost.

Small’s Investment Yields Big Impact on Tuscaloosa’s Community

What makes Circlewood Lights truly remarkable is Jon’s motivation behind it. He started this journey in 2013 in Gonzales, Louisiana, and over the years, the display has graced two states, four cities, and five different houses. His goal is simple yet profound – to spread happiness and bring people together during the holidays. The smiles and joy of his audience are his greatest rewards, and he cherishes the opportunity to create cherished memories.

Among the many compliments Jon has received, there’s one that truly resonates with him: “Your show, respect, and kindness are the main reasons I come back every year.” This reflection of the warm atmosphere he cultivates speaks volumes about the impact of Circlewood Lights.

One of Jon’s proudest moments involves drawing more than 30,000 visitors to the display in just one month. It’s a testament to the connection he has established with his audience and the impact Circlewood Lights has on the community.

Alabama King of Lights Inspired by Another King

House covered in RGB LED Christmas lights
Small covers his home with programmable RGB LED Christmas lights

Jon’s journey to becoming a king of lights began in 2013 with inspiration drawn from a man in Ohio who created the first animated light show sponsored by none other than the “King of Beers”, Budweiser. This spark ignited Jon’s passion and led to the creation of his own dazzling display. While Jon admires many displays so many years later, one that stands out is the Peace Family Light Show in Escondido, California. Peace Family Light Show was featured the Great Christmas Light Fight TV show that aired on the ABC channel on December 17, 2018. Small admires Peace family’s ability to craft a cohesive and mesmerizing show that flows seamlessly from one scene to another.

What keeps the magic alive year after year? For Jon, it’s the smiles on people’s faces and the sense of community that forms around the display. Knowing that families return to witness the display’s transformation each year drives him to continue spreading holiday cheer.

In the midst of all the wonderful memories, one stands out – a family arriving with a newborn and a 104-year-old grandmother. The stark contrast in ages encapsulated the universality of the display’s appeal.

What is Next for Small Tuscaloosa Christmas Lights

As for what’s next, Jon is unwavering in his commitment to continue growing and enhancing Circlewood Lights. The display will evolve each year, ensuring that the magic remains fresh and captivating.

Circlewood Lights is more than just a display – it’s a labor of love, a beacon of joy, and a symbol of community. Through dedication, creativity, and a passion for spreading happiness, Jon Small has created a holiday tradition that brings people together and leaves a lasting impact. As you drive by 86 Circlewood in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, let the magic of Circlewood Lights remind you of the power of sharing joy and creating cherished memories during the holiday season.

Circlewood Lights in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Circlewood Lights in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
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Rita Denon
Rita Denon
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