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How This All Got Started!

 How This All Got Started!

It all started two weeks before Christmas 2011. My Family was visiting the Clifton Mill, a local tourist attraction in the village of Clifton in Greene County, Ohio that boasts 3.5 Million Christmas Lights.  As part of the show they have a synchronized music display which is described on their website as follows:

The old covered bridge is a spectacular addition to The Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill. The bridge, its windows, roof, sides and bottom are covered in lights of various colors as are pseudo trees which flank the bridge. Every hour, on the hour, all 3.5 million lights at Clifton Mill go out leaving guests in total darkness. As a hush falls over the spectators, orchestral music softly begins to play a medley of traditional Christmas songs and some of the lights on the covered bridge begin to twinkle on and then off again. As the music builds and builds, more and more lights on the covered bridge blink off and on in time to the music, lights on the pseudo trees swirl around and change color in a way that seems impossible. By the end of the song, the music is booming through Clifton Gorge, the lights on the covered bridge have become mesmerizing and everyone watching is completely enthralled. Then the music ends and the bridge lights all go out, once again leaving guests in total darkness. Then, before most spectators can catch their breath, 3.5 million lights come on again all at once!


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We watched the animated light show twice while we were there and as we watched it the second time, my oldest son Ben leans over to me and says “Dad, I bet you could do that at home.”  I smiled and nodded my head not realizing what I was about to get myself caught up in with this new interest.

Ironically I had gotten my lights up early in 2011 and they looked great!  Our lights were a static display of incandescent minis.  A total of 5500 lights almost all warm white outlined the house and shrubs.  The weekend before Thanksgiving while I was putting up the lights I decide that I wanted to project a Christmas Image on the side of the house and had looked online for a projector.  While I did not find the projector that fit my needs, I did run across ads for “Mr Christmas” a small system for controlling a few lights to a few set songs and while I thought the idea was interesting it was seemed too limited.

When we came home from Clifton Mills, I again started an online search and came across some information for Light-O-Rama systems. Now this system seemed more like what I was looking for but seemed to be quite expensive to get started.  Then I ran across a site called “DoItYourselfChristmas.com" (DIYC) and life has been a little crazy ever since.

In the two weeks after our visit to Clifton Mills and my finding the DIYC site, I spent every free minute absorbing the information from the site and thinking about what I wanted to do for Christmas of 2012.  You see you need to have the basics which are lights, controllers, tons of extension cords, computer software, and a low power FM transmitter to just get started and the days just before Christmas and the two weeks after Christmas are the perfect time to launch our new hobby.

Now where did I put the twenty thousand lights I just bought from Sam's Club?  Oh, thats right, I hid them in the attic.  :)

Follow us over the next year as we design, build, sequence, and set up our first display for the 2012 Christmas Season.  Wish Us luck.