CANFIELD, Ohio – Mike McAndrew says he was never much into Christmas, but following the deaths of his parents he wanted to create a light display for his yard as a coping mechanism.
“It started building year after year and I thought I could do this better. I could do something else different. I could add this, I could do this,” said McAndrew.
The initial ten tree displays in his yard quickly grew to 50, more than he could fit on his property. McAndrew decided to asked neighbors for help and got it.
“I had asked the neighbors if I could use their land and they were more than willing and that quickly snowballed. Their neighbors wanted something in their yard. It just kept growing,” said McAndrew.
“Currently there are lights on ten properties and two lots. I still have six houses to cover plus the other side of the road there are three houses there,” said McAndrew.
The site has become part of a local Christmas light tour and has been named as one of the most impressive displays in Ohio.
It also attracted the local writer-director of a movie called, “The Worst Christmas Ever” as a location to film some of their scenes.
“It’s a dark comedy about a teenage girl who discovers she’s pregnant on Christmas Eve,” said Johnny Chechitelli.
Chechitelli says he and local business Owner Mike Owens were looking for a location before Thanksgiving where lights were already up and that’s when he heard from McAndrew.
“We were blown away, you know. We had heard about it and so I drove by and it was just wow,” said Chechitelli.
As large as the display has become it continues to grow.
Dave Karash, who lives down the street, can’t wait until it expands to include his property
“It’s really nice to see it get bigger and the participation from everybody else in the neighborhood and hopefully one day he gets down to my house and I could participate too. I’m outdone right now,” said Karash.
“This has quickly grown from my display to a community effort even though these are all my lights and my controls it takes a community to pull this off,” said McAndrew.
“For the first timers they are overwhelmed. This is nothing that they expected it would be or could be. This is not a conventional light display. This is like watching a rock concert,” he added.
McAndrew estimates that 30,000 cars drive past the property during the holiday season.
There are times, he says, when police turn his street into a one way street to keep traffic moving. Neighbors say they don’t mind it for a short while.
“I love doing it the joy that it brings so many. It’s actually a very humbling experience,” said McAndrew.