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Fargo Road

November 20, 2018 - 4:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in Fargo Road, Stafford, Christmas lights display, news.

File photo of Jim and Connie DiSalvos' property on Fargo Road, Stafford.

In a little more than 48 hours from now, the familiar and fantastic display of Christmas lights at the DiSalvos' property at 9180 Fargo Road in Stafford will blaze on after a year's hiatus.

In 2017, Jim and Connie took a break from the more than 20-year-old family tradition to take their grandkids to Disney World on a well-deserved holiday vacation.

And they vowed then they'd be back in 2018 bigger and better than ever. But thinking about it in the interim, they decided to change things up a bit, and concentrate more characters front and center at Swallowvale.

For the past few weeks, a team of helpers has removed the larger lighted characters altogether from the distant sides of their half mile of frontage road. These will be condensed -- three times the characters in half the space -- closer to the grand main house, built in 1842 with fieldstones and expanded in the 1950s.

"It's easier for us to maintain," Connie said. "We can just walk out front and not have to traipse up and down" on their 140+ acres.

Gone will be the 80-foot-long bleachers in a flat area that served as anchors for the scenic Alps and Village display and also all of the high-maintenance inflatables, which must be regularly "shaken" to keep snow from piling up on them.

Connie said they have given away the larger wooden structures, like the Alps and Village, which were labor-intensive, and found new home for them with neighbors. These also include the fireplace display and the gingerbread boy and girl. One of the display's new homes is on Shepard Road in Stafford.

The traditional of having Santa visit on Kids' Night (which was the second Tuesday night in December) has been passed, the DiSalvos said, to The Original Red Osier Landmark Restaurant, also in Stafford. The restaurant boasts its own stellar two-million-and-counting lights display during the holidays and a number of community give-back initiatives. Santa Claus will visit the Red Osier from 5 to 8 p.m. on two consecutive Mondays, Dec. 3 and 10. (Hot cocoa, Christmas cookies, roast beef sandwiches and more will be available to purchase from the outdoors food cart, and there will be horse and carriage rides.)

As ever at the DiSalvos, there will be the mind-boggling array of lights, with Christmas music piping out of speakers until 9 p.m. each evening, starting at 5-ish on Thanksgiving afternoon through sometime Jan. 2 of the new year.

Then everything is disassembled and the lights tested and boxed and put away for next year.

When it all starts over again, a team of five people will work 40 hours a week from mid-September until the big switch on Thanksgiving Day to make the magic happen.

"It's such a joy -- seeing people enjoy the displays, busloads of scouts, the elderly, children from the School for the Blind, the disabled," Connie said. "We've had many proposals take place here, and a couple of weddings."

One memorable proposal came when a serviceman dropped to bended knee by the wooden arch near the snowy driveway, and simultaneously plugged in an extension cord, which lit a sign that said "Abby will you marry me?" The bride said yes.

Another serviceman and his fiancee, who both visited Swallowvale as children at Christmastime, returned one year and asked permission to get married there.

A wedding was to take place by the stonewall in front when the weather became too inclement and the bride's dress was in danger of becoming muddy, so the DiSalvos invited the nuptial party inside. A roaring fire in the living room took off the chill and bottles of wine were brought up from the wine cellar so all could toast the bride and groom.

The sheer electrical spectacle that has made the DiSalvos' a regional must-see requires 30 boxes of extension cords -- about 500 them -- to plug everything together. Power is provided from five metered areas -- electrical services (each akin to the usage of one household) with about two miles of underground cables; with the efficiency of LED lights, two to three metered services will be used for less money.

Can't be cheap to operate. But as per usual, Jim DiSalvo won't say how much it costs, just looks at you directly and says something about a couple of mice running on a wheel to generate the juice.

December 23, 2013 - 3:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Christmas, Fargo Road, Jim DiSalvo.

Dylan Brew sent in this picture he took of some of the Christmas lights on display at the DiSalvo residence on Fargo Road, Stafford.

December 19, 2012 - 9:08pm
posted by Kyle Schwab in Christmas, Christmas lights, Fargo Road, Jim DiSalvo.

Jim, Connie, and Annabella DiSalvo in front of their home on Fargo Road.

The DiSalvos have been bringing Christmastime merriment to children and adults alike for three quarters of a score, and counting. The Fargo Road Lights are a staple on the holiday itinerary of many for miles around. Over a mile of underground cabling and hundreds of heavy-duty extension cords come together to power a plethora of recognizable characters from every holiday book and jingle imaginable. Not to mention, a million multicolored lights dot the landscape in every direction.

We are reminded by such communal generosity – that there may be no greater gift to our little ones than all those many moments we can go out and find with them, that instill a snowballing sense of wonder, splendor, and amazement in their eyes with the world around them. There is comfort in the knowledge that kindness can be genuine and compassion abundant. It's not far – in this case, it's down the road, and over the hill.

As always, Jim, Connie, and Annabella encourage you to come and explore. You are more than free to get out of your car and roam around. And this Christmas weekend, maybe – just maybe – we'll even get a bit of snow to go with all those pretty lights.

Top Photo: Jim, Connie, and Annabella DiSalvo in front of their home on Fargo Road.

Visitors are encouraged to get out of their cars and take it all in.

Visitors are warmly encouraged to get out of their cars to really take it all in.

December 15, 2010 - 12:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, Christmas, Fargo Road, Jim DiSalvo.

disalvo_santa_06a.jpg

Just as he's been doing annually for the past several years, Santa (and Mrs. Claus) made a pre-Christmas stop at Jim DiSalvo's home on Fargo Road, Stafford.

More and more of Genesee County's kids are finding out, the place with all the lights is a good spot to find Santa about this time of year.

As usual, numerous Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts made the trip to Fargo Road, but DiSalvo's home on the night of Santa's visit is open to all the children who stop by.

Above, posing with Santa and Mrs. Claus are Grace Kibler, 10, Reagan Bifarella, 8, Jacquie Kibler, 8, and Libby Kibler, 5.

More pictures after the jump:

December 5, 2010 - 2:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, Christmas lights, Fargo Road, Jim DiSalvo.

fargo10a.jpg

Jim and Connie DiSalvo have once again lit up their property on Fargo Road for the holidays.

The home is also on today's Holiday Home Tour to benefit Genesee Cancer Assistance (if you want to try and make it out before it ends at 4 p.m., tickets are $10 and still available at Go Art!, corner of Main and Bank).

As for the Christmas lights, Jim said this is the 14th year for the all-out effort to bring some Christmas cheer to local residents who might stop by. He said there are more than one million lights lit on his property and some 400 Christmas-related characters on display.

He's been adding to the number of displays every year, but said this might be as big as it gets.

Many visitors simply drive by (and as usual, there was a long line of cars coming down Fargo last night), but Jim said people are welcome to pull up his driveway and ramble around the new turning circle he's installed. People are also welcome to park, get out and walk around the property (which is really the only way to take in all of the displays and the full splendor of the lights).

Picture of Jim (and Annabella) in front of his house below, and then more pictures after the jump.

fargo09b.jpg

December 7, 2009 - 3:14pm
posted by Amy Weidner in batavia, Christmas, Christmas lights, Fargo Road.

The DiSalvo's Christmas light display is always a showstopper. Cars line up and down the length of their property on Fargo Road in Batavia, slowly driving along the shoulder.  People come from all around the county to make sure they get a glimpse of the lights at least once before the end of the season.

Here are some photos to enjoy the decorations at home.  But, if you're looking to fully capture that Christmas spirit and holiday atmosphere, the trip is worth the drive.

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