INDIAN TRAIL – Thousands of cars pass through the Brandon Oaks subdivision each holiday season to enjoy Pete and Sherri Kimbell’s Christmas decorations. The Kimbells synchronize 65,000 lights to holiday music over 20-minute intervals.
The Garden Oak Holiday Lights display has become so popular that they’re expanding it in 2020 beyond the neighborhood. The move will not only allow more people to see it, but also serve as a Christmas gift to neighbors.
“My fantastic neighbors are going to turn on me in the next couple years if I don’t do something now to eliminate the traffic,” Pete Kimbell said jokingly.
He envisions building a Christmas town square on vacant property leased for $1 from Wise Acres Organic Farm.
Kimbell hopes to break ground on the new digs in early summer to open in time for the 2020 holidays.
The Kimbells came up with the town square concept in 2017 after spending some time in Europe. They loved the look of town squares and wanted to incorporate that concept into their Christmas display back home.
Pete hopes to raise $600,000 to build and maintain the new venue. He’s looking for material and monetary donations. He said every penny will go into building the town square, and once complete, the light show will continue as a free event.
“The new town square that we’re building is more or less like an elaborate Hollywood set,” he said.
It will have 13 storefronts depicting different Christmas scenes in their display windows, similar to old department stores. Santa’s workshop will serve as the centerpiece. The town square will be designed to wrap around you with 1.6 million lights being used. The Kimbells will continue synchronizing lights to Christmas music.
While people groan at the first sight of Christmas decorations in November, that’s when the Kimbells begin working on the next year’s light show. Everything is homemade. And the lights are something you can’t find at the store.
“The selection of the music usually takes my wife and I a month or two,” Pete said. “It’s so hard finding music that has the right beat that we enjoy. We’re going to hear that song 200 times before the show even starts. You have to make sure you really like that song.”
The Kimbells turned their hobby into something more meaningful in 2012 after Pete’s mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He is thankful his mother was treated with a medication in clinical trials that almost didn’t make it to market. It worked for her and she is still with them today.
Whenever someone offered to donate money to go toward the display, they told them the donation would go toward cancer research. The display has raised more than $27,000 over seven years.
Want to help?
The Garden Oak Holiday Lights display spans the weekend after Thanksgiving to the week after Christmas. He’s putting together a special light show for companies considering sponsoring the charity. It starts at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 at 4026 Garden Oak Drive. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP. Visit http://donate.goholidaylights.com to make a tax-deductible donation.