Lynn Valley home dazzles with light display

Published 9:03 am Tuesday, December 23, 2014

NW1223 Lynn Valley Lights D 4x5C

Toy soldiers stand guard at the entrance to Bill Crawford’s home in Lynn Valley.
They aren’t there to turn people away. Instead, they are there to light the way for visitors to enjoy one of Carter County’s more elaborate light displays.
Crawford has been decorating his home since his family moved here from Maryland in 1969, and noted it was a family tradition for them there even before they came here.
What started as a family tradition has now become a community tradition, with dozens of people stopping by Crawford’s home each Christmas season to take in the more than 35,000 holiday lights.
“I started doing it when the children were small and they enjoyed it,” Crawford said. “Now I do it because the community enjoys it. Every year, I say I’ll cut back, but I don’t. If anything, I made it bigger.”
It takes three men two weeks to install all of the Crawford family decorations. The holiday display includes toy soldiers, a manger scene, a church with carolers and Santa’s sleigh in the front of the house.
Crawford invites visitors to drive down Bill Crawford Road to take in the rest of the lights that are situated around a pond. It is there that visitors will find Crawford’s favorite part of the display, a hunter Santa and a fisherman Santa.
“Being a hunter and a fisherman all my life, this is a favorite for me,” he said.
Most of the original parts of the light display aren’t included in the current set up. For years, Crawford placed a Santa sleigh with eight reindeer on the roof of his home illuminated by spotlights. Sad to say for Santa and his reindeer, they couldn’t handle the strain.
“After years of taking them up and down, they fell apart,” Crawford said.
Crawford turns his lights on at Thanksgiving and leaves them on until New Year’s. While the decorations lend a festive air to the holiday, they are used as a tool to share the real meaning of Christmas.
“The lights don’t say why Christmas is great,” he said. “On the same token, the lights say that it is Christmas and we should celebrate. Not because it is a holiday, but because of what Christ did for us.”
Crawford enjoys that people of the community receive a dose of the Christmas spirit from his family’s light display. He said dozens of vehicles travel out the road to see the entire light display each night, while others will view the Christmas scenes from the road.
“I don’t do this for recognition,” he said. “I want people to enjoy it. This is my way of sharing the Christmas spirit.”
It is another tradition for the Crawford family to take in all the other holiday lights in the community, and then to return home to enjoy their own lighted Christmas display.
Crawford said he has no plans to stop putting out his festive decorations in the future, but said the display wouldn’t be growing any bigger; he will rearrange the lights to give them a fresh appearance for visitors.
“I am 80 years old,” he said. “It is a job to do. If the Lord lets me do it again, then I will.”

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