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Monday, January 27, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

Wellesley family lights it up for Christmas

With a large lightshow coordinated with holiday music, this Ferris Drive home draws in plenty of passersby

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A glorious musical light show display is up and running once again for its eighth year in Wellesley village.

Some 20,000 LED lights decorate the Cook family’s Ferris Drive home, which features candy canes, reindeer, a Christmas tree, and two arches. What’s more, is that each string is carefully programmed to follow the beat of radio broadcast.

The music can be heard while passing by the home on the sidewalk, but for anyone who wants to avoid the cold, they are welcome to tune their car radio to 100.1 FM and take in the show.

The final result is a very Christmas-themed display of shimmering, twinkling lights that is sure to get visitors in the holiday spirit.

Ben Cook spearheads what has become a well-known attraction in the neighbourhood.

“I think it’s pretty common to see two or three cars at a time sitting out in front of the house at one time,” said Cook. “Last night, at about 10:30 p.m., there were about five teenage boys dancing out on the sidewalk.

“Your first thought might be, ‘uh-oh, am I going to lose a candy cane, or are they going to do something silly?’ But obviously, they enjoyed it … at the end of one song, they were clapping.”

The display has grown more and more every year since its beginnings and usually takes somewhere between 20 to 30 hours to set up. With the help of his family, including children Parker and Paige, he’s added several small props this year, including gifts and deer.

The display has stayed relatively similar to the 2018 version, as the family is beginning to run out of space for more additions. The setup process has been more efficient as they have gained experience doing so.

“I put the work in for the first few years … I made frames for the lights so they are attached to wooden frames, and then they just pop into the window sill,” explained Cook.

“All of the eves are mounted on PVC pipes on hooks so they just get hooked on. It’s not like you’re clipping individual lights onto the eves. … It’s not as bad as you think – the hard part is running all of the extension cords that you need to run everything back to the computer. That’s the time-consuming part.”

The software used to synchronize the lights is called Light-O-Rama. The 100.1 FM frequency was specifically selected after a scan of the area made it clear that there was no radio station broadcasting near that number. That way, there would be no radio interference, and no other stations would be overpowering the signal.

“I hope the neighbours enjoy it – I hope they’re not annoyed,” said Cook with a laugh. “I just hope the kids in the neighbourhood like it. I think it brings some smiles out, that’s all I’m really after.”

The display at 54 Ferris Dr. will be running until the end of December from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. Spectators are welcome to tune into 100.1 FM and enjoy.

Both Ben and his wife Laura are encouraging anyone who enjoys the light show to donate non-perishable food items or cash to their local food bank to help give back this holiday season.

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