A dazzling display of lights set to music creates a spectacular holiday show on Dorset Street. Photo: dan krieger

Making Spirits Bright

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Thursday December 21, 2017

You may not know John Wilking, but if you’ve traveled Dorset Street south of Nowland Farm and Old Cross Roads this holiday season, you’ve seen his light show. To some, he’s famous. He’s been decorating his South Burlington home with lights for more than 20 years, but for the past four, the computerized lights set to music on 88.1 FM, have created an annual attraction for spirited children, young and old.

Drive-by spectators wonder at the more than 40,000 lights hung from the rooftops, shrubs, pillars and posts, wreaths and 55-foot high pine. The lights are timed to dance to approximately 15 popular Christmas songs, including Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas,” “Wizards of Winter” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” and “Little Drummer Boy.” Wilking prefers the classical music of “Pachelbel’s Canon.”

The addition of an artificial 24-foot lighted RGB pixel star-topped tree, capable of projecting brilliant images in motion, is a show stopper. It’s worth the wait to witness Santa bust a move to “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars.

Wilking, a local business owner, invests 10 full days on light installation and another two to three days on software management. He calls his light show a fun hobby, adding, “Like all great hobbies, it costs a lot.” Even with increased use of LED lighting, the Wilkings’ monthly household energy bill doubles.

Through the years the Wilking family has received praise for sharing their holiday spirit, none more meaningful than an illustrated story from 10-year-old neighbor Samantha Chittenden. She expressed her delight in seeing the magnificent light show for the first time, writing, “I feel special inside knowing that I live on the street with the magical light-up house.”

The Wilking Dorset Street light show is on display through early January. Fill your gas tank, the entire show runs about an hour. No matter how long you linger, it’s time well spent.


SOURCE: Lisa Osbahr, Contributor