The children at Woodside Children’s Center know the Christmas season is near when the boxes of lights come out.
At the beginning of November, hundreds of strands of lights, LED displays and other seasonal decorations start getting set up.
The lights don’t go on until after Thanksgiving, but the children can still feel the exhilaration of the coming holidays.
“The kids look forward to it. Families are very excited about it,” said Annette Chom, program director at Woodside. “The kids are watching these lights go up, and they’re very energized through the whole thing.”
For the past three years, the Center Grove-area childcare provider has created a visual and musical masterpiece to celebrate the holidays.
Animated trees sing along to the words of classic Christmas carols and new songs. A pulsing star bursts with light. Arches and poles alternate between darkness and brilliant glowing.
A central “tree” construction from a pole and lights streaming down helps serve as the centerpiece.
“People tell us they drive by the center and see the lights, and they know it’s Christmas time,” Chom said.
The display is the creation of Chom’s brother, Larry Leser. In 2012, he made a light-and-music show at his own home, and the results were so positive, he wanted to expand it.
“He wanted a bigger venue, and we offered to do it here. It’s grown ever since, and we get to reap the benefits,” Chom said.
Chom lives on the center’s campus, and has a front-row seat to the light display every night. The flashing and pulsing lights never get old, though the music from the 45-minute show can get repetitious, she said.
“We have the music broadcast on the radio, and playing on speakers outside. We try to keep the volume low, because otherwise it’s really loud at my house,” she said.
The display does have its challenges. Light-watchers pull into the center’s parking lot to view the show, and when parents come to pick up their children, it can lead to traffic jams, Chom said.
“We have a lot of extra cars, so we’ve toyed with not starting the lights until after we close,” she said. “The problem with that is that our families can’t enjoy them as well.”
Woodside has opened the display to the public, inviting people to pull in and enjoy the choreographed light show. A small-band radio transmitter broadcasts the show’s music, so that visitors can listen inside their cars.
The lights stay on all night long, from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 a.m. the following morning.
“People can stay as long as they want,” Chom said.
Where: 3366 Fairview Road, Greenwood
What: A choreographed display of lights and decorations that runs in a 45-minute loop from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 a.m. each night.
Who: Woodside Children’s Center