By Mary O’KEEFE
Driving through Crescenta Valley it is obvious the holiday spirit is alive and well. Homes are decorated with twinkling lights, Santa and his reindeer, and there is a Charlie Brown Christmas thrown in here and there for good measure.
One of the most well known of the CV homes is the Richards’ residence in the 3500 block of Santa Carlotta Avenue.
Four years ago Will Richards, now a senior at Crescenta Valley High School, saw a home that had its holiday lights linked to music.
“We saw the video and thought we could do that,” he said.
And “do that” they did. A train, water fountain and 30,000 lights with a 140 amperage subpanel later the Richards’ holiday light show was born.
“To set everything up it takes every day in November and to program the [music to the lights] takes 10 hours,” Richards said.
The lights are linked to music that is piped in through speakers. Richards chooses the music, which can be followed on his own radio station 99.1 FM.
“I have an FM transmitter. There is an antenna on the roof. I am playing the music from my laptop,” he said.
A large Christmas tree of lights blink with the music. At times the tree appears to be swirling as the music builds and as variety of colored lights that seem to cover the entire yard begin to dance. But Richards was not content with just lights flashing and trains with tiny tots rolling, two years ago he added a dancing fountain.
Richards estimates that over the holiday about 1,000 people will come by to see the display. The family had volunteered to be a home for last weekends Prom Plus Home Tour.
“The night of the home tour about 200 people came by to see the decorations,” Richards said.
Even though Richards is planning to leave for college next year he said the light show will go on.
“I will still do it. On Thanksgiving and winter breaks,” he said.
The city of Glendale and La Crescenta are recognizing those that decorate for holidays.
At the city, neighbors and residents are encouraged to send in addresses of homes that celebrate the holidays in lights and decorations as part of their Spirit Award program.
“We accept nominations form anyone as long as the home is in Glendale, Montrose or La Crescenta. The nominator doesn’t have to be a Glendale resident,” said Katrin Madatian, Neighborhood Services program specialist.
Pictures of the home are not necessary but welcomed. Those nominated will receive a postcard that states they are a Spirit Award recipient and their homes will be placed on the website at www.ci.glendale.ca.us/planning/holidays.asp
A list of homes in the area are available at the website for those who would like to take a drive to see the lights.
For about 15 years the Crescenta Valley Town Council has been sending members out in search of those with the decorating spirit. Each year a resident receives a Christmas Spirit Award. This year there was a tie: Gil and Maria Lopez at 3020 Gertrude Avenue and Donna Armstrong at 3035 Paraiso Way. The residents will be honored tonight at the CVTC meeting.