While the holiday season makes us think about warm values like family and giving, a few local homeowners are going the extra mile to embody these sentiments — and even raise money for charity — through their remarkable light displays. The shows are open to the public and donations are completely optional.
Perhaps one of the region’s most famous is the Gay family’s annual display in Lagrangeville. Going on its 20th year, the 1.7-acre display — which has been awarded two Guinness World Records (in 2012 and 2014) for “Most Lights on a Residential Property” — includes more than a half-million LED lights and 1,080 individually controlled features. Fan favorites include blue meteor shower trees, hearts, rainbows, and a #TOPTHAT sign (donated by Ritz in 2014 to help them secure the World Record). Dubbed ERDAJT — an acronym made up of the initials of the family’s three children — it’s been featured on virtually every major news channel and is set to animate to popular songs from Frank Sinatra, Ellie Goulding, Coldplay, and U2. (Fun fact: the show kicks off every night to U2’s “City of Blinding Lights.”)
What began as a fun family tradition has transformed into a community-wide fundraiser. To date, the family has raised more than $164,000 for various charities, including the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie and the Union Vale Fire Department. This year alone, they’ve secured $8,550 for the SEAL Legacy Foundation and the Naval Special Warfare Family Foundation.
ERDAJT Holiday Light Display
Where: 8 Patrick Dr., Lagrangeville, NY, 12540
When: Nov. 27-Dec. 29. Sun.-Thurs. 4:45-9:30 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 4:45-10:30 p.m.
Cost: $0 (FREE); donations accepted
Another charitable holiday lights show called Christmas on Colden Hill is currently lighting up the Newburgh skies. Shows run every 25 minutes from 5 to 11 p.m. every night through New Years. This year, the show features two 30-foot dancing arches, a full color animated matrix, 800 channels of computer-controlled animation, and songs from the kid-friendly winter classic “Frozen.”
The owners of this show are accepting donations on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. 100% of the proceeds go to JDRF.
Christmas on Colden Hill
Where: 125 Colden Hill Rd., Newburgh, NY, 12550
When: Nov. 27-Dec. 31. Daily 5-11 p.m.
Cost: $0 (FREE); donations benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Head over to Wallkill for the Bruschi Christmas house, which boasts 20,000 lights and 64 channels set to lively music. Each show runs approximately 30 minutes.
Want to add even more destinations to your holiday light-viewing tour? Check out Price Chopper Capital Holiday Lights, which features a drive through Albany’s Washington Park and culminates at the Washington Park Lake House, where Santa will be available for season’s greetings. The cost begins at $15 per car, with all proceeds donated to the juvenile crime prevention program of the Albany Police Athletic League. Special events throughout the month include Sunday Gift Day (Sundays from Nov. 29-Dec. 27), Bike Night (Dec. 6), and Reindeer Nights (Wednesdays from Dec. 2-23).
Price Chopper Capital Holiday Lights in the Park
Where: Washington Park, Madison Ave., Albany, NY 12203
When: Nov. 27-Jan. 2. Sun.-Thurs. 6-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 6-10 p.m.
Cost: $15 per car, $25 per 10-18 passenger vehicle, $50 per 19-28 passenger vehicle, $75 school buses, $100 commercial coach buses
Details: 518-435-0392; www.albanycapitalholidaylights.com