GREENFIELD — Every year as Christmas neared, Terry Turner’s mother drove him and his siblings all across town to see the best light displays. As they crisscrossed neighborhoods looking at the holiday decorations, they created some of Turner’s favorite childhood memories.

Now, decorating his own home at Christmastime is a must, Turner said. Each year in December, he puts out thousands of bulbs and sets their twinkling in time to music. The show has become popular with families around town; and one night a year, Turner uses the decorations to host a fundraiser for a local organization.

Those driving by Turner’s house at 1112 E. McClarnon Drive will be asked to donate spare change in their cup holders or dig a little deeper into their pockets while watching the musical light show. Donations will be collected from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday to benefit the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department’s Shop with a Deputy program, which provides presents to underprivileged children.

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A deputy is expected to be on hand to personally collect contributions on behalf of the department, Sheriff Mike Shepherd said.

Turner said the light display turned into a fundraiser about three years ago following a conversation with a friend. He thought the sheriff’s department’s efforts to bring needy kids some holiday cheer made the perfect partnership.

This year, more than 12,000 bulbs dot Turner’s front yard. The display took about 40 hours to set up in addition to time programming a computer system that times the show to music, he said.

Turner said he hopes the display helps other families forge holiday memories while affording them an opportunity to be charitable and help their community.

“Every penny counts, and it all goes to a good cause,” he said.

Lights checker almost every inch of Turner’s front lawn and twist up and round the perimeter of the home and the fence that encloses the backyard, creating a spectacle to rival Clark Griswold’s in the movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

The display takes on a new personality each year, with more lights and different music, Turner said. The show uses traditional Christmas tunes but includes some of the year’s Top 40 hits, too, he said. In the past, the light display has featured songs like “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” by Ylvis and “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. This year, Turner said he was sure to include Silentó’s “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” because he was sure kids would get a kick out of it.

Passers-by can tune in to a radio station to listen as the lights flash.

Shepherd said he was surprised when Turner first came to him offering to hold a fundraiser for Shop with a Deputy but grateful for the help. Shop with a Deputy collects money all year long in hopes of raising enough to give about 30 kids a $300 shopping spree. This year, the program aided about 25 youngsters Dec. 5.

Amy West, who organizes the Shop with a Deputy program each year, said Turner’s light show brings in several hundred dollars each year. The money donated this Saturday could be used to help a local family this Christmas or it will be used to kick-start fundraising for 2016.

“If we have any families reach out to us for assistance between now and Christmas, we’ll figure out a way to help them; and this money could be used for that,” she said. “Just because they missed the shopping doesn’t mean we don’t still help them.”

Shepherd said he tries to visit the home each year to help monitor traffic flow through Turner’s neighborhood. He’s grateful for Turner’s and the visitors’ generosity.

“It’s a great thing he’s doing,” Shepherd said.

If you go

Donations will be collected from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the light show outside Terry Turner’s home at 1112 E. McClarnon Drive to benefit the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department’s Shop with a Deputy program, which provides presents to underprivileged children.

By the numbers

The light display at Terry Turner’s home at 1112 E. McClarnon Drive includes 12,000 colorful bulbs that dance in time to the music when you turn on your radio. The display took about 40 hours to put up.

Author photo
Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.