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Holiday In Lights - Traditional, unique displays draw numerous visitors
121907 XMAS LIGHTS 02
Roy Thompson's place on Old River Road North - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

arainas christmas lights

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    Tis the season to spend time with friends and family, but who says you have to stay home? A fun drive around the neighborhood — or beyond — is an ideal way to share quality time with loved ones as well as enjoy the sights and sounds.
    Christmas lights and displays, that is.
    Whether a home is sedately adorned with greenery and red bows, shining under strategically placed spotlights, or is ablaze with enough lights to read by, the sight of a home all decked out for the holidays evokes warm feelings and joy.
        Why do people decorate? To make others happy, according to most.
    Some families and individuals make it a tradition to begin as early as the fall, stringing lights, planning where to put the Santa and how to hang the wreath.
    Cornell Burgess is one who puts forth great effort each fall to begin designing his annual tribute to the” reason for the season.” His spiritual messages spell out different things each year; this year he ponders “What is Christmas?”
    All one has to do is ramble around the Brack Road exhibit to find the answer. A host of nativity scenes mingle with Santa Claus figures, Snoopy on a  dog house, inflatable carousels and every other Christmas character imaginable.
    The Burgess House is rimmed and lined with lights that resemble icing on a gingerbread house. An angel hangs in the sky over a nativity scene, and visitors drive through a tunnel of lighted arches to view the scenery.
    To get there, turn onto Portal-Metter Highway  (left coming from Statesboro, right coming from Swainsboro) at the caution light in Portal.  Drive a few miles until you reach Brack Road (a dirt road on the left) and you can see the lights  - keep on driving. There is a turn-around area just past Burgess’ display so you can enjoy it again as you leave.
Another Christmas fantasy land
    Driving down U.S. 301 North, a mile or so from Clito, and you can’t miss the Felix Deloach residence. It’s the one with the huge front yard - filled with sparkling,  glistening, twinkling lights.
    Character figurines,  strings along the trees, around posts, on  the home, a birthday greeting to Jesus, and more, the display is definitely a “must-see” and one of the traditional sights Bulloch County citizens have come to expect.
    The Louise Quick home at the corner of Cone Homes along Northside Drive East may not be as large as some, but she and her neighbor have done their parts to transform the modest apartment complex into a festive holiday scene. Quick has been decorating and adding to her collection for several years now.
    A family on Westside Road at the intersection of High Point Road, not far from the Veteran’s Memorial Parkway, has been creating a Christmas village for years as well. Their display includes a spotlighted cross, a “Happy Birthday Jesus” sign, and Santa with his reindeer along with a gaggle of wooden cut-outs of carolers and characters.
    Yet another family further down the road, just past Edward Hitt’s Wrecking Yard, is busy with lights and sights. Wooden cutouts of nutcrackers, carolers, reindeer, Santa, snowmen, animals and more require a minute or two to enjoy, so be careful stopping along the roadway.
    For those who would like to drive a bit further, take U.S. 301 South towards Claxton, crossing Interstate 16.  When you approach Junction 169, look to your left and there will be a sign inviting visitors to turn there and drive 1/8 mile to “Santa’s Toy House,” where the Bastanzi family offers a cozy exhibit with lights and animated figures. Through Christmas Eve Santa will be there, too. While you’re there, check out the neighbor’s lights, too.

Explore your neighborhood
    Get adventurous and cruise along the streets around your neighborhood or even those across town. Areas heavily populated will have plenty of sights, but you never know, when touring around the county, what the next curve will reveal.
    In addition to seeing the cool lights and interesting displays, taking a “light tour”  provides an excellent opportunity to spend time with friends and family. Grab some hot chocolate or coffee, buckle up and enjoy each other’s company as well as the scenery.
    Some hot spots around town include Irongate, Hunter’s Pointe, Hazelwood, Georgian Walk, and other subdivisions where neighbors seem to compete as to whom has the most Christmas spirit.
    However, don’t ignore those remote country roads. It’s always delightful to round a curve and see a bright, cheery display of holiday sentiment.

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