Powered Up Powhatan 2018: Tacky Lights tour in Powhatan

POWHATAN – In a rural community like Powhatan County, searching for really spectacular Christmas light displays can be a bit of a treasure hunt.

You may have to go over hills and down windy, tree-lined roads (and this year even gravel roads), but occasionally you strike gold.

While we at the Powhatan Today love a good treasure hunt, we want to take a little of the guess work out of the journey and tell you once again where X marks the spot with the third annual Powered Up Powhatan light display list.

We have added a few more homes to the list and even brought back a few from the first year who have continued to up their game – and their wattage levels. One of this year’s stops is a bit of a departure from the norm as it is more of a light show than a light display. But for anyone who makes the drive to watch it, we are sure you will find it an entertaining way to spend part of your evening.

The people on our list decorate their homes for the love of Christmas and the joy of sharing their holiday cheer with others. They were all happy to know people will enjoy their creations.

But as always, a few reminders for people visiting the locations on our list. The Powered Up Powhatan list does not adhere to the more strict requirements of Richmond’s Tacky Lights Tour, which asks for a minimum of 40,000 lights to participate.

But they still feature some fantastic displays (or shows) that are worth seeing.

Unlike Richmond homes, the Powhatan sites on this list are often found on rural roads that are dark and sometimes have pretty steady traffic. In a few cases where the homeowners specifically give permission, people are welcome to park and walk up to look at the displays as long as you are respectful to their property and that of their neighbors.

But be extremely mindful of the lack of visibility and the speed with which everyone knows drivers sometimes use even on dark, windy roads.

Also, some of these homes have massive displays, and that means a great deal of electrical cords to keep them all powered up. Be careful of cords and bring a flashlight if needed to keep your family safe.

If your home was not mentioned but you would love to have visitors come look at your display, contact editor Laura McFarland at Lmcfarland@powhatantoday.com.

Powered Up Powhatan 2019: 3120 Academy Farms Road

Tamara and Thomas Morgan are enjoying the wide open space to decorate at their new home at 3120 Academy Farms Road.

1. Tamara and Thomas Morgan

3120 Academy Farms Road

When the Powered Up Powhatan list starts taking shape, it means not only finding new stops but checking back in with previous years’ participants. While it turned out that Tamara and Thomas Morgan’s former home on Giles Bridge Road, which was on the first list in 2017, had gone dark, their new home on Academy Farms Road is lit up and providing the couple more space than ever to embrace decadent decorating.

Tamara came by her love of over-the-top Christmas decorating honestly – her mother, Dana Ford is also on the list again. The pair go shopping together right after Christmas each year to buy discounted decorations to add to their yards and make them even brighter.

The centerpiece of Tamara’s yard is a 20-foot strand Christmas tree surrounded by years worth of displays, including dinosaurs, a panda, deer, snowmen, a unicorn, Elmo, a llama, Cinderella’s carriage, nutcrackers, penguins, mice, various kinds of trees, geese, other wildlife, and much more. Thomas also strung lights up into the nearby woods to make shooting stars.

Tamara said her goal was just to make the displays flow this year. The new house has a much larger yard to play with and she is reveling in it.

At the same time, getting into the Christmas spirit this year was a little harder since she lost her maternal grandmother, Barbara “Ebie” Flowers, on Oct. 16. Decorating didn’t make the loss any easier, she said, but since many of the displays were given to her by her grandmother, seeing them out has been a reminder of shared memories.

Tamara said she wasn’t sure if they would be going all out on decorations again this year because of that loss, the move, and the fact that their new home is on a private road (she wanted to be respectful of the neighbors).

“I warned everybody when we move here that we put up a lot of Christmas lights. They were like, ‘Yeah, we love it!’” she said with a grin.

Still, she wanted to make the process as painless as possible. She asks people coming to see the lights to drive 15 mph not only in deference to the neighbors but because there are many deer in the area. She also tried to ease the way by making it so people could drive up a lit circle driveway both for ease of getting back out and so they can see the displays closer to the house. She asks that people not get out and walk among the displays because of the cords.

The light display will be lit up nightly through New Years.

Powered Up Powhatan: 3393 Lake Pines Place

D.J. and Meghan Kaloski love making spirits bright at their home at 3393 Lake Pines Place.

2. D.J. and Meghan Kaloski

3393 Lake Pines Place

The home of D.J. and Meghan Kaloski first appeared on the Powered Up Powhatan list in 2017, a little more than a year after the couple moved their family to the county from the West End. During their last year in their old home, they made it onto the Tacky Lights Tour.

D.J. said in 2017 he still had thousands of lights in storage that didn’t make it onto the house, and even two years later, he is still building up his display. Quite a bit has been added to the house this year, both coming out of storage and new purchases, he said. He he added 4,000 lights alone to the house, as well as growing the number of yard displays.

The family started decorating earlier this year so the lights could switch on the day after Thanksgiving, but D.J. said he was still adding items in the weeks that followed. Decorating was a family affair between the couple and their children, Ryleigh, 8, and Dylan, 6.

The display is easily visible from the road and people may park and walk in the driveway, but not through the yard because of all of the cords, D.J. said.

“The eventual plan is to make it more interactive as a walk-through display. But this year with all the cords, I don’t want anybody tripping,” he said.

Many of the decorations are vintage blow molds and include a few Santas, elves, deer, snowmen, penguins, Disney characters, toy soldiers, and flamingos. Other interesting sights include a purple hippopotamus, Star Wars characters, and Santa hanging from the roof.

“There is a huge Santa’s mailbox at the end of the driveway. There is a narwhal whale up at the front that my daughter is enamored of. There is a panda bear hanging out of my tree that was added this year,” he said.

D.J. said one of his wife’s favorite displays is a mouse riding in a sleigh pulled by a pig – an ode to her grandmother, who died several years ago but always loved decorating for Christmas with mice.

“Her grandmother always had a mouse tree for Christmas, so any time we see mice at Christmas it makes us think of her grandmother,” he said.

The lights will be on display through New Years.

Powered Up Powhatan: 1376 Old Franklin Road

The Pixel Family Lights show on 1376 Old Franklin Road runs for more than an hour with festive holiday music synced to the LED lights.

3. Pixel Family Lights

1376 Old Franklin Road

Found down a gravel road in southwest Powhatan off of Old Buckingham Road, the big appeal of 1376 Old Franklin Road is the length of time you get to enjoy it.

When Logan Franklin created his light show set to music for Christmas 2018, it had 12 songs synchronized to 9,300 LED lights (3,100 pixels).

For 2019, he reallyupped his game with 24 songs and a show that lasts about one hour and 12 minutes. The light show, which runs from 6 to 10 p.m. daily, uses 43,830 LED lights (14,610 pixels) to make each song a special experience.

Sharon Franklin was more than happy to brag on her son Logan’s achievement since he built the display himself with the help of his brother, Clay.

“(Logan) has always been gifted in building. He built a 3-D printer, which built a lot of the pieces for this,” she said, gesturing to the light show.

When people drive down the gravel road that is Old Franklin Road and reach the Franklin home, they can park to one side of the driveway or in the field in front of the display if conditions allow, she said. Be respectful of others there to watch the show. Turn off car lights, tune your radio to 91.5 FM, and let the Christmas cheer flow.

The show features a wide range of music, including “The Greatest Show,” Whitney Houston’s “O Holy Night,” Burl Ives’ “Holly Jolly Christmas,” Pentatonix’s “Hallelujah,” Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas,” Lou Monte’s “Dominick the Donkey,” a dubstep version of “Carol of the Bells” by Spaced Out Studios & Vizzwar, Straight No Chaser’s “Christmas Can Can,” and Sia’s “Candy Cane Lane.”

The light show will run through New Years.

Powered Up Powhatan 2019: 2710 Beaverrun Road

Happy to share her holiday cheer with others, Dana Ford welcomes visitors to her home at 2710 Beaverrun Road to walk through the light displays. Be careful of cords.

4. Dana Ford

2710 Beaverrun Road

Visitors could spend quite awhile exploring Dana Ford’s jam-packed yard, and she is OK with that. She and her husband have been decorating their house for 18 years and love sharing their Christmas displays with visitors.

Dana was on a mission this year. She lost her mom in October, but rather than letting her loss keep her from joining in the Christmas festivities, it inspired her to make the house on Beaverrun Road look the best it ever has in honor of her mother, who loved the displays and gave many of them to her.

“I am trying to make every light work this year and get everything fixed so it can be a memorial to her with it being as good as I can do it,” she said. “She loved it and came every Christmas.”

Dana’s sprawling front yard is full, and people can park and walk through to get the full effect, but be mindful of electrical cords on the ground and making noice that disturbs the neighbors.

“I am happy people are OK with doing that now, because if you sit out there (in the street), you can see a massive amount of lights but you have no idea what is actually here. You can’t see from the road what the scenes are,” she said.

The yard has a wide variety of clustered displays, ranging from a group of polar bears on ice, safari animals, Cinderella’s carriage on the way to the ball at the castle, a gingerbread house surrounded by sweets, a tropical Santa soaking in the palm trees and birds, a dancing dolphin jumping out of bright blue water, a grouping of owls, and a peaceful nativity scene.

She showed off a new Christmas tree lot near the back. Look for the three bells, which start playing music when their motion sensors are activated. She is also particularly happy with a new willow tree and deer on the backyard deck. There are also shooting stars in the trees courtesy of her son-in-law, Thomas Morgan.

Dana pointed out that for the people who do large light displays, like her and her daughter, Tamara Morgan, it is a labor of love.

“I love it all. You have to love it. Tamara was saying ‘Great Light Fight,’ they don’t realize how incredible that name really is, because that is what it is. Half the strands don’t work so you are in the house every night until 2 or 3 a.m. replacing bulbs,” she said.

The light display will be up through New Years.

The home of D.J. and Meghan Kaloski first appeared on the Powered Up Powhatan list in 2017, a little more than a year after the couple moved their family to the county from the West End. During their last year in their old home, they made it onto the Tacky Lights Tour.

D.J. said in 2017 he still had thousands of lights in storage that didn’t make it onto the house, and even two years later, he is still building up his display. Quite a bit has been added to the house this year, both coming out of storage and new purchases, he said. He he added 4,000 lights alone to the house, as well as growing the number of yard displays.

The family started decorating earlier this year so the lights could switch on the day after Thanksgiving, but D.J. said he was still adding items in the weeks that followed. Decorating was a family affair between the couple and their children, Ryleigh, 8, and Dylan, 6.

The display is easily visible from the road and people may park and walk in the driveway, but not through the yard because of all of the cords, D.J. said.

“The eventual plan is to make it more interactive as a walk-through display. But this year with all the cords, I don’t want anybody tripping,” he said.

Many of the decorations are vintage blow molds and include a few Santas, elves, deer, snowmen, penguins, Disney characters, toy soldiers, and flamingos. Other interesting sights include a purple hippopotamus, Star Wars characters, and Santa hanging from the roof.

“There is a huge Santa’s mailbox at the end of the driveway. There is a narwhal whale up at the front that my daughter is enamored of. There is a panda bear hanging out of my tree that was added this year,” he said.

D.J. said one of his wife’s favorite displays is a mouse riding in a sleigh pulled by a pig – an ode to her grandmother, who died several years ago but always loved decorating for Christmas with mice.

“Her grandmother always had a mouse tree for Christmas, so any time we see mice at Christmas it makes us think of her grandmother,” he said.

The lights will be on display through New Years.

Powered Up Powhatan 2019: Returning Favorites

Pam and Tommy West's home at 2224 Judes Ferry Road is one of five addresses returning to Powered Up Powhatan on its Returning Favorites list.

RETURNING FAVORITES

Pam & Tommy West

2224 Judes Ferry Road

Found down the dark and windy Judes Ferry Road, Pam and Tommy West’s home is a surprise blast of Christmas cheer and lights. The couple has been building their collection slowly over about 20 years and has a wide variety, including blow molds (a nativity scene is front and center), a Ferris wheel, snowmen, penguins, a festive pig, and much more. The house is adorned with lights, including a shooting star and Santa in his sleigh. The light display will stay on through New Years. Judes Ferry Road is a busy road, so if you are going to slow down or pull over, make sure the way is safe.

Powered Up Powhatan 2019: 1545 Holly Hills Road

Brian McGee's home at 1545 Holly Hills Road does not have a huge light display, but it does offer a heartfelt message.

Brian McGee

1545 Holly Hills Road

While Brian McGee’s display is one of the more simple additions to the list, it made the list for the first time in 2018 because of its simple but heartfelt message. On top of his house, Brian has once again strung lights to create the American flag and the thin blue line flag, which commemorates fallen law enforcement officers. McGee said the goal, as always, is to show respect for law enforcement. The display will be up through New Years.

Powered Up Powhatan 2019: 1460 Anderson Highway

Llewellyn’s Towing and Repair at 1460 Anderson Highway is back on the Powered Up Powhatan display with its annual Christmas light display, which changes music each week.

Llewellyn’s Towing and Repair

1460 Anderson Highway

Ernie Llewellyn loves creating his Christmas display at Llewellyn’s Towing and Repair every year so much that he spends hours each week synchronizing a new lineup of songs to the light display. If you are driving by and see Frosty the Towman and the Mechanics jamming away, stop by for awhile, tune your radio to 89.5 FM, and sit back and enjoy the show. Except when there is too much snow or rain, the lights are on nightly from 5:30 to 11 p.m. The light display will be up through New Years. People are welcome to stop by and watch the show. Turn off your headlights for better visibility.

Powered Up Powhatan 2019: 3777 Old Buckingham Road

Pam and Lonnie Combs fill their yard at 3777 Old Buckingham Road with light and blow up displays.

Pam & Lonnie Combs

3777 Old Buckingham Road

For their second year fully decorating for Christmas at their home in Powhatan, the Combs once again filled their sprawling front yard with whimsical blow ups and light displays. Pam Combs is the driving force behind the Christmas frenzy but credits her husband, Lonnie, with making it a reality for her. Pam hits the after-Christmas sales every year to add to the displays, whose main purpose is to bring people joy, especially children. She added about 20 new items to the display this year, including a hot air balloon she loves. Because of the traffic on Old Buckingham Road, visitors can come up the driveway lined with red candy canes to get a closer look and exit out of a gravel driveway. The lights will be up until Dec. 31. She asks for safety reasons for people not to walk around in the yard because of the wires holding the blows up down.

Powered Up Powhatan: 1609 Stavemill Court

Jimmy Rebick decorated the front half of his driveway at 1609 Stavemill Court to spread Christmas cheer.

Jimmy Rebick

1609 Stavemill Court

While the driveway display of Jimmy Rebick is much reduced from the first time he appeared on the list and it stretched all the way back to the house, he hopes people will still get a smile out of it. This year’s display features roughly 8,000 to 10,000 lights and several blow up displays. Among the sights are Santa poking out of an outhouse, a family of snowmen, a nativity scene, angels, bears, and a Grinch inflatable he said had to be out. The lights are on from 5 to 9 p.m. nightly through New Years.

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