NEW PALESTINE – Need a holiday pick-me-up right before Christmas?
Just grab your smartphone or GPS, get in your car and head out to the New Palestine area for more than two dozen homes decked out in lights on an official driving tour.
The Fourth Annual Bob Kingry Light the Night Tour continues this month, with an online map at bit.ly/LightTheNight22. Twenty-eight houses are featured on the tour, mostly in the New Palestine area.
For the Ley family, being on the tour is one way to show off their passion for lights and the holiday spirit.
Brandy Ley says her husband Brandon is “crazy, crazy, crazy about Christmas lights.” Active in the Marine Corps, some years he’s unable to put up the lights. But this year, their home is in full glory at 4538 W. Easy St., New Palestine.
“He loves to see peoples’ reactions, especially kids,” she said. “He just loves to be able to show the Christmas lights he loves.”
The family even has a goodwill spin on their site: a lighted collection tote is set out each night for Helping Veterans and Families of Indiana, a group that supports homeless veterans. People may drop off hygiene items, towels, pillows, wash cloths, men’s long johns and underwear, or women’s feminine products in the tote and the Ley family will get the items to HVAF.
The Light the Night Tour, previously a contest, is named after the late Bob Kingry, who for years had hundreds of people travel to his Schildemeier Village home to see his display.
New Palestine Chamber of Commerce and New Palestine Main Street partner to collect names and addresses of homes with a similar holiday spirit to share with others.
“This year we decided to change things up a little bit and do more of a tour verses a competition,” said Erin Garvey of New Palestine Main Street. “It gets so hard to judge these lighting contests; everyone does such an amazing job. And it’s in hopes we’d have more people get involved in the light tour. I know it might take a couple of years for it to catch on, but my hope is to make New Pal a destination for families who are out for the holidays.”
Garvey said she’s pleased with this year’s participation, and would love to see it continue to grow.
While many people in Hancock County enjoy the tour, there are also people from outside of the community who travel in to see the lights and enjoy New Palestine’s other Christmas events. Garvey said she hopes businesses benefit from those visitors.
Jeff Woker is no stranger to visitors at his home.
Known fondly as the “Blinky House,” word has spread via social media over the last five years about the nearly 75,000 lights synchronized to music at 2920 W. Sycamore Drive, Greenfield.
“I work at Wowlinks and I’m techy by nature, and I just had a whim one day that I just wanted to play with some lights, and I don’t know how to do anything small. When I go in, I go all in,” Woker said.
The technology consultant uses a program to synchronize his light display to music.
“I spend a lot of time frequencing and programming the songs individually, and I try to change it up every year,” Woker said. “I usually only bring a song or two over from the previous year, and I keep adding new songs every year.”
Woker also encourages goodwill with his display; last year he posted a GoFundMe sign for his friend’s child diagnosed with leukemia.
It’s common to have cars parked in front of his home every night, especially the days right before Christmas, where he’ll pass out hundreds of candy canes to visitors.
“I start dressing up as the Grinch and I’ll go out and meet kids at cars and start making fun of them, and tell them I’m going to steal their presents,” Woker said. “That’s the joy I get, is interacting with the kids.”