By Brandon HENSLEY
Tis the season – to admire Will Richards’ home.
For six years now, the house that sits at 3500 Santa Carlotta Ave. in La Crescenta has been a beacon of holiday joy to Crescenta Valley residents.
Taking it all in from the sidewalk, it’s practically impossible to not be impressed with everything on display, from the water fountains that shoot up almost 50 feet to the lighted spiral trees and cones and the train that makes its way around the lawn.
It all takes an enormous amount of time for the 20-year-old Richards.
“Yeah, pretty much. It’s pretty much an all-year thing,” he said.
His mother Julie said all of the decorations finally get taken down in February, and then it’s back to work for Richards in August to start setting things up again.
“This is his baby,” she said. “Every year he tries to add something different. He’s up to 48,000 lights now.”
The lights are the big draw. More specifically, it’s what they have to do with music. People driving by can tune into 99.1 FM and see the lights coordinated to the holiday music being played.
“I have an FM transmitter that I bought, so I’m actually broadcasting the station myself,” Richards said.
It takes Richards three to four hours to program one minute of every song, and he said every night he’s in his room fixing problems or programming songs. To him it’s worth it.
“I like music that has more of a beat to it,” he said, and he mentioned Brian Setzer and Trans-Siberian Orchestra as artists he likes to play.
Speaking of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, it was their song “Wizards of Winter” that was programmed into a light display by a family in 2006 that was wildly popular online. That was the inspiration Richards needed to do his thing.
The increased traffic, lights and noise haven’t alienated the Richards’ family from their neighbors. The family hasn’t received any complaints from those who live nearby.
“Most of them enjoy it,” Julie said. “They like seeing it as they drive by. We have one neighbor that said they turn it on all the time and just listen to at their house.”
She also said this year a child walked by the house with his father, and when he saw the lights he said, “Oh, there it is!”
The father said his son couldn’t wait each year until the lights go up, said Julie.
“Oh, we love it,” she said of the community response. “That’s the reason we do it.”
The Richards’ have also supported U.S. armed forces. They have put out collection plates for Soldiers Angels, and this is the second year they are collecting for Wounded Warriors.
But despite all the hard work, Richards looks forward to installing the display every year.
“It’s kind of fun because I’m really into electronics and building things, and all that sort of stuff,” he said. “It’s really fun.”
Other neighborhoods in the Crescenta Valley share bragging rights with the Richards family for elaborate light displays, with or without music. In La Crescenta, the 3000 block of Paraiso Way, the 3700 block of Cloud Avenue and the meadow just inside the entrance to Mountain Oaks at the bottom of New York Avenue are all decorated for the holiday season.
If you want to share the location of a home that has gone all out with holiday spirit, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make sure and let the community know.