Christmas lights 12-13-08: DiSalvo's always best in show
"This is part of our Christmas tradition every year."
Those are the words Debbie Renteria yelled to Jim DiSalvo from her car window, as she drove her children around DiSalvo's Stafford property early Friday evening. You could see the smile, and sense of satisfaction on DiSalvo's face.
It is probably something he hears a hundred times a week during the Christmas season, and has for the last 14 years.
DiSalvo started decorating his enormous front yard with lights almost a decade and a half ago and it keeps growing every year.
"It's a lot of fun," said DiSalvo, who is the president of Applied Business Systems and manager of Team America Racing, where his son Jason is a star Superbike rider. "There is nothing I enjoy more than walking outside on a night like this and seeing the cars and the people."
DiSalvo's property is tucked away at 9180 Fargo Road in Stafford, just as you leave Batavia on Route 5, but once you make a sharp turn, you can't miss the decorations.
Almost every tree on the property has lights, there are over a half million bulbs in use and there are over 350 different lighted characters in the yard. Practically every tree has its own power outlet in the ground near it, there are over two miles of underground cable in use, there are an additional 500 extension cords in use and it takes four 200 AMP generators powering the show.
There is also two very large speakers and a 250 watt amp playing Christmas music that can be heard from the street.
DiSalvo has a full light crew that starts putting up the decorations the first week of December and finishes in mid-to-late November. The lights stay up until January 5.
The amount of people that visit Jim, and wife Connie's home is a number that DiSalvo couldn't even estimate. He says that on weekends the traffic is bumper-to-bumper.
"I like to sit in the front yard and watch (the people visit). It's non-stop," DiSalvo said.
The DiSalvo home must have more Christmas spirit than any other location in the area. Last week, the DiSalvos hosted over 300 Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts from the area for hot chocolate, cookies and a tour of the property.
People often stop and leave gifts on DiSalvo's front porch, and he witnessed one of the most unique acts of the holiday season he has ever seen this past week.
DiSalvo noticed somebody dressed as Santa Claus sitting near a tree in the front yard, so he went to investigate.
"I asked him if he was really Santa," DiSalvo joked.
It turns out that the unidentified man has done this for a couple of years now. He sits in DiSalvo's winter wonderland dressed as Father Christmas with a bag of toys, waiting for his eight year old grandson. The child comes to check out the lights and gets to meet Santa, and receive gifts.
That was an experience that sums up why DiSalvo puts together the biggest display of area Christmas lights.
"It's all for the kids, really," DiSalvo said.
Here is a Flickr page with 23 photos of DiSalvo's Christmas lights, but it is advised that you take the short ride to Fargo Road to get the full effect.