In the quaint town of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, a symphony of lights dances to life every holiday season, creating a spectacle that’s as heartwarming as it is awe-inspiring. Jerrod Belvin, the mastermind behind “Belvin Family Christmas,” has transformed his home into a dazzling canvas of twinkling lights, a sight that has captured the hearts of the local community and beyond. Belvin Family Lights is a Christmas display created by a team of 4 individuals that pour 400 hours into setup that has been featured in the Pocono Record and Pennsylvania Homepage. This award-winning display in Pennsylvania has obtained 12 Tacky Light Tour Tacky Awards and consists of 176,600 Christmas lights and 12,000 RGB/pixels. In this interview, Jerrod Belvin offers a detailed glimpse into the world of big Christmas light displays in Pennsylvania, a world where creativity, dedication, and a sense of community shine brighter than ever. The answers below were provided directly from Jerrod Belvin.
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What do you want people to know?
Remember those good old days when our parents would pack us into the car for the ultimate weekend adventure of driving around to marvel at twinkling lights? Well, consider my display the modern twist on that cherished tradition. Sure, you could scroll through endless online images, but trust me, experiencing it in person is like the difference between reading a recipe and savoring a homemade cookie. So, put on your coziest scarf, gather your loved ones, and embark on a festive promenade through a spectacle that’ll make even Santa’s elves do a double-take. Let’s keep the spirit of wonder alive by stepping out from behind our screens and immersing ourselves in the real magic of Christmas lights!
Where do you find inspiration?
When it comes to finding inspiration for our charity light show, I draw from a diverse range of sources that continually fuel our creativity and innovation. One of our primary sources is the “The Great Christmas Light Fight” TV show, which showcases captivating and extravagant displays. The program not only provides visual inspiration but also offers insights into the technical and artistic aspects of creating stunning light shows. Additionally, I often turn to TikTok displays, as the short and engaging videos offer a plethora of unique ideas and techniques that I can adapt and integrate into my own choreography. Personal relationships with fellow large-scale light show enthusiasts in my local community have proven to be invaluable sources of inspiration as well. Through interactions and collaborations with these individuals, we exchange sequencing techniques and share creative concepts, enriching each other’s projects. This network of like-minded individuals creates a dynamic environment where innovation flourishes. Moreover, I find inspiration on various Facebook boards dedicated to light show enthusiasts. These online communities foster a vibrant exchange of ideas, tips, and experiences, broadening my perspective and encouraging me to experiment with new approaches. This eclectic blend of inspiration not only keeps our creative juices flowing but also ensures that our charity light show continues to evolve and captivate audiences year after year.
What is most challenging?
Undoubtedly, the most challenging aspect of managing our light show is the intricate process of sequencing. Ensuring that each light is meticulously synchronized to the music and that the different groups of lights seamlessly flow together is a task that demands both patience and precision. While it can be tempting to rely on automated features like the randomize button, I take great pride in manually crafting the sequences to guarantee a mesmerizing and coherent visual experience for the audience. Integrating the various technologies that power the show, such as Light-O-Rama and Xlights, can also present challenges. The compatibility issues between these platforms occasionally create hurdles that require careful troubleshooting. Moreover, living in the mountains adds an additional layer of complexity. Our eagerness to commence work ahead of the unpredictable snowfall season drives us to start preparations early. The urgency to complete the setup before snow arrives necessitates meticulous planning and coordination. On the flip side, once the snow descends, it imposes a temporary halt on our efforts due to the challenging working conditions. This aspect adds an element of time pressure to our operations. Balancing this urgency with the need to dismantle the lights as soon as the show concludes can be a delicate dance, as the integration of LEDs complicates the troubleshooting process compared to the more straightforward nature of incandescent lights.
Where do you store decorations in the off-season?
Ah, the epic journey of storing the magic behind the scenes! When it comes to housing the stars of our dazzling show, we’ve gone through quite the evolution. We kicked things off with the classic garage loft – a cozy spot until our decorations started multiplying like mischievous rabbits. It turns out, rain and wires don’t exactly tango well, so we waved goodbye to the garage and set up camp in the shed. Alas, even the shed couldn’t contain our expanding spectacle, and it wasn’t long before we had to upgrade to not one, but two sheds! But here’s the kicker: our larger-than-life display items decided they needed their own VIP space, so they now reside in the strategic shade of the sunroom, rubbing elbows with the flora while patiently waiting for their cue to shine. It’s a bit like a game of storage Tetris, ensuring each piece finds its cozy nook until showtime. The journey from garage loft to dual sheds and sunroom sanctuary has been quite the adventure – a testament to our ever-growing passion for spreading the light and the joy!
What is your favorite part of Belvin Family Christmas?
Ah, the heart of my electrifying domain! Amidst the mesmerizing spectacle that is my light show, my personal favorite has to be the ensemble of enchanting LED Washlights, mischievous RGB Flood Lights, and the sassy Halogen Blinders – my trifecta of luminous awesomeness! While the RGB and Pixels might be the cool kids on the block, there’s something inherently charming about embracing the Clark Griswold approach to illuminating splendor. The Washlights elegantly dance with the music, as if engaged in a waltz of photons. The RGB Flood Lights paint the canvas of my home with a vibrant palette that would make even the aurora borealis jealous. And oh, the Halogen Blinders! They burst forth like the flash of paparazzi cameras at a celebrity event, leaving everyone momentarily stunned and begging for more. So, as much as I’m tempted by the sleek allure of newer technologies, I find myself irresistibly drawn to the classic, the dramatic, and the unabashedly over-the-top. After all, who could resist a nod to the timeless art of dazzling our senses, one watt at a time?
How much do you spend on electricity in December?
The million-watt question! December, the month of festive lights and merry melodies, is a true test of my commitment to the art of illumination. As much as I’d love to serenade you with an exact figure, I fear my answer might land me in the doghouse—or should I say, the couch? On average, I’d say my electrifying endeavor adds a sparkly 400 to 600 dollars to the bill. You see, it’s not just the static lights that twinkle like distant stars from dusk till dawn, creating a fairytale ambiance for all to enjoy. It’s also the grand light show that occasionally takes a gracious pause, for the sake of neighborhood tranquility, or as I like to call it, the “harmony interval.” So yes, December might be the month I embrace a certain electric extravagance, but isn’t it all in the name of spreading holiday cheer and keeping the spirit of the season as bright as the North Star?
What is your favorite compliment?
Picture this: I’m enjoying a lovely dinner, basking in the glow of my own creative genius, when suddenly someone taps me on the shoulder and exclaims, “Thank you for the memories! Your light show is the highlight of our year!” Meanwhile, my eye-rolling wife is probably wondering if I’ve developed a secret fan club. And let’s not forget the pizza guy – the unsung hero of my neighborhood acclaim – who in the heat of July drops the ultimate praise bomb: “I can’t wait to see the lights this year, even though my job sometimes feels like delivering pizzas to the North Pole in midsummer!” It’s moments like these that make me realize the power of my light show to spread joy and anticipation like Santa Claus in July.
What inspired you in the beginning?
Well, let me take you on a trip down the tinsel-covered memory lane! The spark for my extravagant light show extravaganza actually ignited back in the days when I was knee-high to a candy cane. Picture this: my dad, armed with a couple of strings of lights, trying to outshine the North Star on our front porch. It was a modest attempt, really. Then, as luck would have it (and aging grandparents too), we inherited this treasure trove of vintage red and green C9 bulb strings – you know, the energy-guzzlers from the good ol’ days when “LED” was just a jumble of alphabet soup. But there was something magical about those bulbs that just spoke to me. Fast-forward to my ingenious scheme – or rather, a merry little fib. One year, in a stroke of creative genius, I spun a tale about stumbling upon a local CVS Christmas light decorating contest application. With all the finesse of a sugar-fueled kid wielding an old dot matrix printer, I “entered” my unsuspecting dad into this imaginary battle of luminous grandeur. Bless his heart, he probably saw through my North Pole-sized deception, but he played along like a true holiday hero. The lights kept piling up, illuminating our home one festive strand at a time. And then, my friends, came the pièce de résistance – syncing those shimmering, glimmering lights to the sweet symphony of music. Ah, the moment I realized that my love for decorations could tango with my passion for tunes, I was hooked faster than you can say “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” It was as if Santa himself had gifted me a Christmas miracle, wrapped in the melody of holiday melodies. So, there you have it – from a porch with a modest twinkle to a full-blown musical spectacle, my journey into the world of over-the-top decoration had begun. Who knew that a few innocent strings of lights could lead to a symphony of festive brilliance?
What continues to inspire you?
Firstly, the constant stream of new innovations in lighting technology keeps my creative juices flowing. There’s always something new to experiment with, whether it’s more vibrant colors, intricate patterns, or synchronized effects. Secondly, the sense of community and joy that the light show brings to people is truly heartwarming. Seeing the smiles on the faces of neighbors, friends, and even strangers who come to witness the spectacle is incredibly rewarding. Despite the challenges posed by harsh winters and the eventual task of taking down the lights, I find that the connections forged with the community make it all worthwhile. Speaking of winters, I often ask myself whether it’s worth the effort as I dismantle the display, but somehow, between the months of July and September, a renewed spark of inspiration ignites within me. It’s during this time that I find myself motivated and excited to create something even more captivating than before. This cycle of doubt and reinvigoration keeps me pushing the boundaries of my creativity and continuing to share the magic of the light show with others.
What is the strangest thing that has happened?
One particular incident still leaves me chuckling. Picture this: our designated “ooh and aah” zone, where folks can park and saunter along the fence to soak in the luminous spectacle. Now, a couple of years ago, we had quite the unexpected visitors – a party bus on a bachelorette mission! Yes, you read that right. Turns out, our mesmerizing light show became an impromptu pit stop for a group of enthusiastic bridesmaids-to-be. As they hopped off the party bus, bedazzled in sashes and tiaras, they found themselves inadvertently shimmying and grooving along with the synchronized lights. Who would’ve thought our display would become a bachelorette venue in town?
What is your proudest moment?
One of the proudest moments involving the light show display occurred when I was honored with the United Way Rising Star Award. This recognition not only validated the hard work and dedication that was poured into creating a mesmerizing and synchronized light show choreographed to music but also acknowledged the impact it had on the community. Through my display, we have been able to foster a sense of unity and joy among my neighbors and visitors, making the holiday season truly special. Beyond the visual spectacle, it warms my heart to know that my efforts have contributed significantly to giving back to the community. Over the years, we’ve been able to donate over $20,000 to charitable causes since the inception of my display. Witnessing the positive ripple effect that my passion project has on both the local community and those in need has been an incredibly gratifying and humbling experience, making every moment of hard work well worth it.
What is next?
We’re all about keeping the magic alive, so we make sure to swap out any tired displays with fresh ones, because even lights deserve a spa day once in a while. Our annual decorating ritual is a blend of creative chaos and strategic planning. As for the future, we’re dreaming big—think of it as a light show with its own Hollywood makeover. We’re eyeing projector mapping to take things to the next level, so get ready for some mind-bending illusions and light-powered storytelling. Of course, our RGB collection is going to expand faster than a kid’s candy stash on Halloween night. So, in a nutshell, expect the unexpected, prepare for the illuminating extravaganza, and get ready to see your neighborhood squirrels start practicing dance moves!
What is your favorite display other than your own?
Slodysko Lights! on 264 Parsonage Street in Hughestown, Pennsylvania decorated by Christmas lighting expert, Greg Slodysko
Spreading the Magic of Pennsylvania Lights
Jerrod’s message is clear: experiencing the light show in person is a true delight that surpasses any online imagery. The joy and wonderment of Pennsylvania lights are best felt firsthand, and he encourages everyone to step out from behind screens and immerse themselves in the magic.
In the end, the “Belvin Family Christmas” display is a testament to the power of creativity, community, and the timeless joy of spreading light. It’s a celebration of the holiday spirit and the enchanting world of Pennsylvania lights that continue to brighten hearts and homes year after year.