Redefining the Christmas spirit
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|WANT TO CHECK OUT THE SHOW?The light show is at 208 Madison St., Walworth. The lights dance daily from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m Monday through Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays the show runs from 4:30 until 10:30 or 11 p.m. depending on traffic and Sundays from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. The light show typically ends New Year's Day. For more information visit walworth-lights.com.|
December 22, 2010 | 08:31 AMWalworth — As seasonal music plays, children will stand in front of Valerie Piechur's home pretending to be maestros orchestrating a Christmas light and sound show.
Adults have been known to park their cars near Piechur's home at 208 Madison St. and dance on the sidewalk.
At any other home in the village this would likely draw strange looks from the homeowners, but Piechur and her husband, Gary, don't mind at all.
That is because the couple decorated their home with 45,000 LED (light emitting diodes) Christmas lights, which flash and flicker in sync with the Christmas songs they broadcast through an FM radio station. To hear it, when near the home, tune to FM 100.1.
For the past five years, Valerie has been using the LED lights to decorate her home.
"It keeps getting bigger every year. So, it's not the same year to year," she said.
Prior to using the LEDs to decorate her home, she used traditional lights.
"We always did all the icicles, trimmed the roof line, the front and the porch," Valerie said.
She said she was sold on the energy-efficient lighting when she watched her electric bill drop by more than $150 for the month of December. Valerie also sells the lights.
"LED lights use 80 to 90 percent less electricity," Val said. "The savings on the electric bill will pay for the lights."
Valerie also is motivated to work on the light display by her religious convictions.
"'Awesome.' I hear that more than anything," Valerie said.
What about her neighbors?
"No one has complained, yet. We just received new neighbors and I'm sure they are rather surprised," she said.
It takes a lot of time to put together the songs and music.
"Basically a three minute song takes right around 20 hours," Valerie said.
She can keep the songs from each year, but has to make adjustments as she adds lights.
"I find myself every year adding on and tweaking the songs," she said.
They also use their light show as an opportunity to raise money for VIP Services, which works with adults with learning disabilities. Outside of the couple's home is a secured — under video surveillance — donation box for the nonprofit group.
"VIP is just a great place for these people and it makes them feel like a great person," she said.
Valerie became involved with VIP services after she looked at starting a foster home. She met with individuals from Walworth County that said a need existed for caring for adults with learning disabilities.
Valerie helps care for three adult women who have learning disabilities.
"We really, really enjoy doing this and seeing people come out and enjoying it," Valerie said. "Even if they can't donate the should still come out.