WARSAW — If you enjoy Christmas lights, North Winds subdivision off CR 100E north of Warsaw is one of the places to check out. Not only does the subdivision have a decorating contest, it is the location for the synchronized Christmas light display of Adam Churchill.
Churchill, who could be considered a Clark Griswold, has always enjoyed looking at Christmas light displays. Then he saw a YouTube video of the Larsons’ Christmas display in Illinois with the Great Christmas Light Fight. Since he had been told he needed a hobby, he thought synchronizing a light display would be cool. He now shares this hobby each Christmas season with the public.
Each year from Thanksgiving to Jan. 2, car loads of families travel to the Churchill home on North Old Port Road. While sitting in their cars and tuning the radio to 104.3 FM, they can watch and listen to the music of this synchronized light display.
“It’s a hobby that I took out of control,” said Churchill. This endeavor to share the Christmas spirit is not just a one-man show, he claimed he is just a part of it. His whole family enjoys the endeavor. He gets help from his daughters Mia, Kami and Arabella; his wife, Stephanie, and his father and mother-in-law, Jim and Cindy Derkacy. Each one has a special role in preparing the display.
It is Stephanie and her mom, Cindy, who does the designing and music selection. While the music and display changes from year to year, two family favorite songs will remain — “Wizard of Winter” and “Hot Chocolate.” His father-in-law, Jim, helps with any welding and any building needed. His daughters help stretch the cables and the light strands.
Planning starts a year in advance, so he’s already working on next year’s display while continuing to tweak and add more to this year’s display. “This year’s is not done,” Adam stated, adding the add-ons will keep the meaning of Christ in Christmas. “I have 80 more strobes to put out,” he stated.
It all began in 2014 when Stephanie asked if she could give him an early Christmas present. The gift was one controller – the software to create his own light show. “Now you have two weeks to get something going,” she told him.
It was a learning experience at first, figuring out the computer program and the controller. That first year it was just one controller, last year it was two. This year several more controllers have been added and there could be more next year. A computer operates the controllers, which control the lights based on the music. Mia made her own controller this year, one of several Adam has built from scratch. Kami and Arabella will be building their own controllers when they get older. “When they are older they can take it with them.”
Adam has also found inexpensive ways to make things for the display, such as his own extension cords. He uses more than 4,000 feet of extension cords.
Just how does the synchronization work? A computer program is used to synchronize the lights to the music and operates each of the controllers. Adam shared he spent more than 20 hours programming just one song.
There are thousands of lights, a spiral mega tree, singing snowman, Star of Bethlehem, dancing trees, Nativity set, strobes, flood lights and if you look closely in one of the windows you will see a virtual Santa.
To find out more about the display and to see this year’s song lineup visit www.warsawlightshow.com.
The display can be seen from 6 to 10 p.m. every night.