Thursday Dec 16 2010
The lights are out: It’s Christmas
By: Lien Hoang, The Press Tribune
Thousands take night tours of Roseville’s holiday displays
Near Baseline Road, head east on Mineral Springs Drive, then turn right at Striker Court. You’ve reached a winter wonderland. A train is made of lights, which change so the wheels seem to move. A decorated red mailbox opens and closes continuously. A 46-foot redwood wears 8,000 lights. If that’s not enough to know where you are, read the street sign: it says Candy Cane Lane. Robert Poirrier added the sign to his court, where for 15 years he and wife Colleen have wowed thousands of merrymakers, who can see their decorations from Baseline. The couple started the tradition for their children and continued it long after they’d moved out. In October they begin preparations, checking to see what needs to be fixed, bought or replaced. They spend eight days in November decking the house, which stays festooned from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. In that time their electricity bill triples. Fifty candy canes enclose the yard, every foot of which is covered by wires. Robert Poirrier painted nine reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh. A toy train drives around the centerpiece: the 46-foot redwood that could soon outgrow its 53-foot strings of lights. “There are lots of lights,” Jasmine, 4, says as she dances like a ballerina on the Poirrier’s driveway. “Who put them up?” “Santa’s elves,” grandma Dianne Mangino says. “Why?” “So kids like you can see it.” Like their visitors, the Poirriers typically tell children the grand production is a work of Christmas magic. To adults, they admit to using a manlift. The Manginos have been visiting Candy Cane Lane for years, as with countless families who make it a holiday custom to tour lighted neighborhoods. The holiday spirit spread to neighbors like Steve Edwards, who owns the train of lights. He got involved after talking with the Poirriers. “It’s just all kind of a neighborhood thing,” Edwards says. A few blocks down, at 2204 Thurton Dr., “Fantasia” comes to life. A ticker urges passersby to tune to 97.5 FM, where the homeowner has programmed music to coincide with the dancing of the arches and pyramids of lights. The sign refers people to Lewisholidaylights.net, which links to Tackylighttour.com. The Thurton house is the only one in Roseville included on the site, which lists festive abodes throughout North America. But plenty of other Roseville dwellers are showing off holiday joy on their front lawns. A giant snowglobe. An inflatable Grinch literally jumping into a chimney. Penguins gliding on “ice,” also known as a web of blue lights. While pushing a stroller with her family, Alina Topchiy sees inflatable Mickey and Minnie Mouse popping out of a box at 7708 Belle Rose Circle. “It’s just to see something we haven’t seen, just people’s imaginations,” Topchiy says of touring neighborhood displays. The house is part of a holiday lights contest sponsored by the Roseville Stanford Neighborhood Association, in the northeast area of town. Organizer Erica Desafey says businesses donated $2,000 worth of prizes for the contest’s debut. The Giacomini family, at 7124 Roycroft Drive, are throwing their hat in the ring. Lights adorn their second floor railing, and snowmen grace the lawn in different forms, from blow-up to lightt-up. “We try to get something new each year,” Pam Giacomini says. Lien Hoang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. ---------- Know of extravagant holiday displays in Roseville? Post your favorites in the comments section of this story, and upload photos at My.RosevillePT.com.