Three houses and thousands of holiday lights

By From page C1 | December 23, 2012

SUISUN CITY — For three Suisun City neighbors on Golden Eye Way, bringing out the colorful bulbs is as much a Christmas tradition as Santa.

Geary Ledford started the light show more than 20 years ago. When Brian Rivera moved next door, he picked up the habit. Enter Dan Kling, who also decks out his two-story abode for Halloween and Christmas.

Kling’s display, which includes SpongeBob SquarePants, is as big as it’s going to get.

“I’ve reached a point where I’m starting to replace things,” he said.

Rivera has pared his display down a little, but only due to time constraints and weather conditions.

While Ledford maintains a stash of replacement light strings, it’s his wife, Sandy Ledford, who finds new additions for the front yard every Christmas. This year, it’s a duck figure. The price had already been slashed in half. On Thursday evening, her husband predicted it would be on display by the weekend.

All three showcase, and make by hand, what Kling calls “cup lights” that are made from putting lights through small clear plastic cups. About 50 cups are put together in a sphere shape.

“They’re simple to make,” Kling said.

He grew up in a family that didn’t celebrate Christmas. Kling remembers being enamored with the Christmas lights he saw from the car windows.

“Now, I get to enjoy it as an adult,” he said. “I get to see the kids enjoy it.”

He started “small” in 2001, with a strand of lights on a tree in his front yard. Today, that tree is too tall for him to get lights on the top.

Rivera started putting up lights in 1995. He is often the first to put up his holiday decorations, usually the day after Thanksgiving. Family often helps, so things come together quickly.

Kling’s 11-year-old son helps with ground level decorating.

Two decades ago, the Ledford’s youngest son, who was 15 at the time, decorated the outside of the house. Today, it’s up to Geary Ledford to handle the task.

“He still gets on the roof,” said Sandy Ledford, noting that she always fears he’ll fall.

All three have designated circuits to run the displays. Geary Ledford said the first year, with Christmas lights up, he’d flip a switch in the house and blow the circuit.

“My circuits are maxed out,” Kling said.

The Ledfords, Kling and Rivera love to see people drive by and admire their houses. The viewers seem to appreciate all the work, as all three men says they’ve gotten Christmas cards that just read “thanks for the lights.” Last year, someone even tucked a $5 bill inside one for the Ledfords.

Kling has had people donate lights to him. “I’m going to give the lights away,” Rivera said, jokingly.

Electric bills for the trio often double for the month of December. Kling said he just includes that in his Christmas budget.

“It’s only for one month,” Geary Ledford said.

Cordelia Villages resident Omar Cisneros also gets into the Christmas spirit, adorning his Hallmark Court home with lights. He’s shaped three trees in close proximity to look like one tree and topped the 20-foot creation with a lighted snowflake.

He estimated it took him about a week to put up the lights. And most of it was done in the rain, he said.

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

Here are some other addresses with outstanding outdoor displays, as shared by Daily Republic readers:
• 2132 Calder Place
• 1204 Grant St.
• 445 Jackson St. (Suisun Fire Protection District fire station)
• 3812 Rollingwood Drive
• 4819 Silver Creek Circle
• 4907 Silver Creek Circle
• 2400 block of Sunrise Drive
• 1400 Ticonderoga Drive
• 680 Vintage Drive
Suisun City
• 1012 Barrows St.
• 1000 block of Greylag Drive
• 1537 Montebello Drive
• 203 Yarrow Court
Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.

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