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Go Outside! Be involved with display


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After close to a decade of doing this I'm finally going outside and interacting with the viewers.  My kids have a hot apple cider stand every night and it is awesome!  Some of the proceeds go to them but most goes to a local charity which we do a toy drive for every year. I want to teach them work ethic as well as being giving individuals, which is what its all about.  Giving to people less fortunate. They also go around car to car handing out candy canes.  It is the most gratifying thing to interact with the people who watch your display.  The viewers are very curious how it all works and have many questions.  I'm not a real people person, but this makes it all worth while.  I came home this evening with 50+ people in my front yard with chairs, fm radios, coolers, etc, plus a couple dozen cars lined up down the street.  I know everyone doesn't live on the Central Coast of California where its 80 degrees in December.  But, if you can go outside, do it!  It makes all the hard work worth it.

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I drove an hour round trip to a fellow lighters display, and we missed their show literally by a minute or two.  It started on the hour and we got there 15 minutes after the hour and the show had ended, and the snow machines had just stopped by the time my daughter got from our parking spot to the display.  When you tell someone at the age of five that there's going to be snow machines and lights like Daddy's, there better be snow and lights.  The lights were static, and the snow machines were stopped.  I talked the the individual running the display for the decorator, and he really just blew us off told us the decorator was inside. I did introduce myself as a fellow decorator and that I wanted to meet the man behind it all, but to now avail.  I wasn't able to talk to anyone but the guy who knew literally nothing about the display.  I wanted to see what I missed, so I looked around, and pointed out RGB floods, and a controller in the bushes to my wife which I guess creeped out the gentleman who basically shooed us away from the display. 

 

We were told if we wanted to see a "Mini" show it would start in 45 minutes but would have to come back then, but the snow wouldn't run then because it isn't cheap or free.  I had no idea that they only ran one "Big" (15 minute) show a night and 2 "Mini" shows (who knows what that meant).

 

WHAT?

 

Come on!  

 

Do you want to know WHY it took us a while to get there?  Because my children were running around before hand trying to find their snow boots.  In my part of Oregon, snow is pretty rare, and it took me a bit to explain this snow was just fuzzy bubbles.  Once they understood that, then they were just willing to grab shoes, and leave the boots.  To them, this was a big deal. 

 

I told the guy, this was one of the very few nights our family was all together and could see the "Show", but it didn't matter to him.  I know it takes one click to fire up just one song.  But, yeah, didn't happen.  So we left, I won't be back.  That was my one chance for this year.  And frankly it left a bitter taste in my mouth.

 

So yeah, I second getting out there and meeting people.  And if you can't afford the snow.  Take down the stupid machine, and don't say you have one.  If someone drives an hour round trip, and just want to see the display run, give them one song.  Really, it just takes a right click, a radio button and a left click.  Presto, show.

 

Ok, I'm gonna take my soap box and leave now.

Edited by rainyoregonchristmas
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This year I have neighbors and friends bring out camp chairs instead of doing a looping show. I have to say I love it. First, I get to see my own display, I get to see people's reactions, and in general it's a very nice way of getting to know friends and neighbors better.

Edited by jstorms
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I am right there with you. As it gets closer and closer to Christmas I have found myself outside more and more talking with everybody. However it does suck to never get a free minute for a hot dinner or to just veg out on the couch.

 

For you rainyoregonchristmas, I am right there with you; I would have been pissed. We all know the hard work that goes into the displays that we all have and I love being able to speak with someone that understands our language and doesn't ask "How much is your electric bill?". If you don't want visitors and are not willing to speak to someone about your display, don't do one.

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Sorry to hear about your bad experience.   That individuals lighting schedule sounds a little odd to me.   A 15 minute show every hour?  Sounds like a bad seed in the LOR community to me...

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I am out every half hour. My show is currently 34 minutes. I haven't even unloaded half a case of candy canes, yet.

I have a friend who is a local Sheriff, he and his staff are making sure my speeders are not ruining anyone's holiday.

It is amazing how many people can not see a patrol car even when their headlights are making the decals on the side of the car glow extremely bright.

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And that's just one more reason why I think it's stupid and arrogant to think your show is so special that it only runs at certain times. I'm not doing all this work only to disappoint people, and the absolute LAST thing I ever want is for someone to leave the display feeling as violated as Rainey did.

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Well said George. My 35 minute show runs continuously from 5:15-11:00 on weekends and 5:15-10:00 on weekdays. I have had people knock on door and ask to turn on the lights after 10 on weekdays. Of course I turn it on! Its usually similar circumstances as RainyOregon stated. Kids in the car, traveled long distances, etc... How can you say no! I hope whoever the fellow lighter is that said no is on the forum and reads these posts.

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We turn our lights ON for the first time after dinner on Thanksgiving each year.  So the family and neighbors meet outside at a predetermined time and we all watch together.  That one night makes it worth the endless hours it takes to prepare and setup.  This year we had people walk up to our display as we were all out there.  I quickly invited them up closer to make sure they had a good viewing angle.   

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Well said George. My 35 minute show runs continuously from 5:15-11:00 on weekends and 5:15-10:00 on weekdays. I have had people knock on door and ask to turn on the lights after 10 on weekdays. Of course I turn it on! Its usually similar circumstances as RainyOregon stated. Kids in the car, traveled long distances, etc... How can you say no! I hope whoever the fellow lighter is that said no is on the forum and reads these posts.

We've done this as well in the past, but I can also say there was one time when we had a couple drunk in their car beeping after midnight wondering why the lights weren't on. I can't say I turned them on that night lol

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A couple drunk in their car beeping... That's when I call the cops and they get a light show of flashing lights and sirens they won't like too much...

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Man, It's sad but I am kinda "that" guy. My dragon moves every show but only spits out smoke on Friday and Saturday, just because I need to be home to make sure it is working (not to mention the neighbors need a break from the smoke). And, she needs a lot of TLC. (the fogger died on sat night and I was up on the roof at 9pm fixing it, telling people to give me 5-10min) But I guarantee that if I am there, and someone wants a show, they get one.

 

But all these things are explained on the lightsofthevalley website and the facebook page. So, maybe not the same.

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Your dragon is amazing! Are you the creator of lights of the valley? My house has been on there for last five years or so and was always curious who's behind it.

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If my show ends and ANYONE asks to see it... I will turn it on without question.  Heck, I have even run the show early for a family that could not come back when it was dark.  The problem I run into is MY time, or lack there of.  Between Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, work, church, and my son's and my choir practices I have none to visit with viewers and this bothers me sometimes.  I have MISSED the Christmas Eve rush EVERY YEAR so far.  I've only seen pictures from friends of the lineup of cars in each direction.

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We've seen people "beeping" in their cars on two separate occasions.  Well, actually I didn't see the first couple - the windows were pretty steamed up.  But the second couple really put on a show.  Good thing it was late at night and they were the only car left on the street.  I don't think they even noticed when I shut down the display for the evening.

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Last night I was waiting for 2 cars to leave, waiting, waiting, waiting,,,,,then I noticed my lights were not the only thing flashing, the continual flash of a lighter in the car. It wasn't in tune to the music so I shut the show down. 

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I had a car pull up yesterday about 15 minutes before show start. They waited patiently for a few minutes while I scrambled to find the iPad so I could start show on demand for them. They happily watched 2 songs and went on their merry way. I think they would've waited the 15 minutes for it to start but I couldn't make them sit out there for that long. They came to see a show and they got one. :)

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I have to be out here all night to control traffic and keep disgruntled scrooge neighbor happy with traffic control. He had choice words with me and wants me shut down plain and simple.

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Awesome!  That's me minus wearing synchronized lights.  My 9 year old  son and 6 year ole daughter are the highlight.  He sports his santa outfit and hands out candy canes and sells hot cider.   People love him!  Hes averaging $20.00+ an hour selling cider.  Obviously a portion goes to local non profit we support.  The remainder to him and his sister to teach them to be hard working individuals that don't feed off the system pays off!  Nothing like interacting with the crowd.  I'm out here all night trying to keep neighbors happy with traffic control.  People are having a hard time reading 4 foot tall signs with a billboard that say NO PARKING!!!!  Traffic has become a little much... 100+ people on foot and several hundred cars tonight. 

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