Holiday light show a labor of love for one Brewerton family
Lights are sparkling on houses across the region this holiday season. But a family in one central New York neighborhood has taken Christmas decorating to a whole new level.
As you drive up Jacob Lane in Brewerton on any December evening, many homes, like thousands of others across the area, are decked out in Christmas lights. But about halfway down the street, you see more than just a strand of lights outlining a suburban colonial. There are signs telling you to tune to a radio station. And then 20,000 lights start shimmering, blinking , changing color, all in time with the music.
The man behind the display is Greg Brewster. He admits it’s a bit more than your usual suburban decoration.
“It’s a little over the top, it’s a little extreme,” said Brewster.
But he comes by it professionally.
“I’m the electronics specialist for SUNY Oswego, so I’m in charge of all lighting and sound for the theater department," he said.
He’s also spent time on the road as the light and sound technician for shows ranging from Dora the Explorer to the 25th anniversary tour of Les Misérables. Decorating for the holidays has had a special place in his heart. And creating a display like this has to be a labor of love.
"We pick the music and I basically decide what my display elements are,” he said. “There are the pixel trees, there’s the mega tree, the house outlines, so on and so forth. And from there I spend hours, for every minute of a song it’s about six hours programing on the computer.”
The heart of the operation is in the garage, where dozens of wires and circuits snake to a computer that controls every action of every light.
“It’s all computer controlled,” he said. “So I can turn it on and off, shimmer, fade, twinkle, those sorts of effects on every strand of lights that is on the house.”
On any given night on the holiday season, cars line the neighborhood road, with families taking in the display. On this night, one family pulled up and two kids were waiting for what they called “the Elsa song,” better known as “Let It Go” from the Disney film “Frozen."
And what do the neighbors think?
"I can’t wait until they start every year,” said one neighbor. “It brings so much joy to the neighborhood."
Brewster says he made sure neighbors were on board because of the constant music, lights and traffic.
“Our neighbors on each side and across the street are spectacular,” he said. “They love it. They comment and talk to me all year because it’s a whole year in planning.”
Brewster says beyond word of mouth, social media has been instrumental in creating interest in the display. In particular a Facebook page called Lights on Jacob Lane.
“We have almost 1,600 likes on our Facebook page,” he said. “And it’s random. Friends tell friends, family tells family. I try to come out and talk to everyone as much as I can. "
Brewster and his wife and young daughter also used the display to help give back. This year they collected more than 100 toys, which they donated to Toys for Tots.
If you want to catch the light show, it runs through Dec. 31. See the map below for the location.