Elkins Lake is lighting up for the holidays.
For the sixth year in a row, Larry and Martha Hoover have set up their synchronized light display at their home, located at 363 Broadmoor Drive. Their light display has become a destination for citizens to enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season.
“We are told numerous times each year by Huntsville residents how much they enjoy the musical lights,” said Larry Hoover. “Additionally, cars frequently roll their windows down and we can hear children squealing clear in the house.”
The display features 25,000 lights, synchronized with eight to ten Christmas songs.
“The system is run by a computer wired to 15 controllers,” Hoover added. “Each controller regulates the on/off status of 16 strings of lights. So in total, the display has 240 independent circuits.”
The music is broadcast on a low energy FM circuit, 94.1, which only carries for about 600 feet. The display is on a timer and begins each evening at 5:15 p.m. and turns off at 9:30.
Visitors can hear classics like “Carol of the Bells,” “O Come all ye Faithful,” “Joy to the World,” and “Silent Night.” The program restarts every 12 minutes so viewers can see the display in its entirety.
Despite the extravagance of the display, it does not use as much energy as one may think.
“The display costs about $200 total for the five weeks the program runs,” Hoover said.
Visitors will have new features to enjoy this year.
“We added three more what are called “mega-trees” – a center pipe fifteen feet high with lights in a circle,” Hoover added.
The Hoovers work hard each year to keep the display going for the community.
“We start setting up the display the first week of October,” Hoover said. “We work half days on weekends and most weekday evenings for an hour.”
Although the display is a challenge to assemble and disassemble, to Hoover, the joy it brings to the community makes it all worth it.
“On a Saturday in early January both my wife Martha and I were in the vacant lot taking down the mega-trees,” Hoover added. “The holidays were over, and all that was left was the tedious “putting it all away.” I was on the extension ladder struggling with disassembly of the lights in the trees. It was uncomfortably cold. Straining against the extension ladder caused my legs to hurt.
“It was one of those “is it really worth it” moments, and with almost perfect timing a woman stopped and said to Martha ‘I saw you working and would like to tell you something about how much your lights meant to us.’” Martha walked over to talk to her and the woman related that she had a seven- year-old boy who is autistic. He really likes Christmas lights and loved our musical lights.”
The display has attracted thousands over the years, according to Hoover.
“On a typical week night perhaps 30 cars will stop,” Hoover said. “On Fridays and Saturdays there is constantly three or four cars stopped. We don’t know the exact number of cars over the season, but it is probably close to 1,000.”
The Hoover display runs each night, weather permitting, from 5:15 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
We hope the light display is appropriate,” Hoover concluded. “Going overboard with the musical lights becomes garish.”