Garden Oak Holiday Lights is looking for a new location to grow into. The response to our display and the support we have received in the contributions going to our charity (The National Foundation for Cancer Research) has been overwhelming. We know our display is getting too big to continue this display at our home and we are looking for a new location.
We are looking for 3 things:
1. 1. We are looking for someone to lend their field or pasture to us for a few months before and a few months after Christmas for the 2019 season and for years after. No permanent structures would be built on the property, but we do have a safety concern which may result in adding a layer of stone dust or chip gravel to part of the land to make walking easier for older folks. Our estimate in area is about 6-8 acres for the display and parking. Think Renaissance Festival but with a Christmas town square feel.
2. 2. We are looking for sponsors. Up to this point, my wife and I have paid for 100% of the display by putting off buying new cars, vacations and other small things. We have felt that this cause has a greater importance to us – our choice. We would like to continue having 100% of the donations going to the organization we raise funds for - The National Foundation for Cancer Research. Because of the size of the new project, we are looking for individual and business support, but we are asking them to be more of a silent partner in this endeavor. We do not want to make this a commercial display, but we will have a way to gracefully recognize those that do help. Our estimates is that the lighting alone will cost between $100,000 to $150,000. Material to build the town and logistical needs is estimated to be between $125,000 and $175,000. As our design becomes more solid we will update these figures.
My wife and I will contribute the first $10,000. We will also donate as much of our existing display at our home (lights, controllers, elements, etc.) which is estimated up to $45,000 and is not part of the money needed for the lighting.
3. 3. A location to store our display in the off season. We are planning on our display to be modular so that no permanent structures needs to be built. This requires a location to safely store panels inside. The exact area needed is not known at this time as it all will be based on the location space we will be made available. A warehouse is the type of location we will need that has forklift access.
Efforts up to this point to find a new home
We previously had several meetings, emails and phone calls with a representative with the Indian Trail Arts and Cultural Center about doing a display at the new Indian Trail Town Hall. However, after about 60 hours of planning on our part, this fell through as we were told that they felt the new town administration would not be in favor of supporting a display.
We were requested to talk with the Bakers Fire Department in Monroe (they service our home) after one of their volunteers saw our display. After going up and talking with them at the Fire Station, they did not think their location would work for what we were looking for.
The new concept
The concept is still fluid in the thoughts, but at the current moment, we are thinking of a Christmas Town. When you first drive up and park, you will see a town wall with two entrances to the town. You have a choice of staying in your car and watching the display or entering the town. If you decide to enter the town, you will find yourself in the town’s square surrounded by buildings of all types – think Victorian style structures. Santa Suit repair shop, Elf hat maker, etc. could title the buildings. In phase 1, the buildings are not actual building but fake fronts. Think Hollywood sets. It is possible that the buildings could be occupiable in future phases.
If you stay in your car, you will see the town wall, however, on the far side of the town, above the buildings in the town’s square, you will see a large structure – Santa castle or workshop towering above the wall and other buildings so it can be seen from the parking area.
The lighting will be coordinated so that those in the parking lot will see the outside wall and castle light up. If you are in the town square, you will see the buildings in the square and the castle light up.
The lighting display will be the same as we do today at our home, lights synchronized to holiday or popular music. The show will be extended to have a longer show than we are able to produce now.
It is not clear if the display will be donations only or a fee per car. All monies raised will be considered as a donation to the organization we raise money for.
Some have asked why are we putting all this money into our current display when it could mean 4 or 5 times more than we have raised in donations. The answer is simple – we are hoping that we are spreading the interest in people raising funds for Cancer Research on their own after they see what we are doing. We are also contributing to the holiday season in a very positive way. Last, we are also good listeners to some of our visitors. Over the years, we have listened to many people’s stories of what they or their family member has gone through with Cancer. We are now a tradition to many families. You cannot put a price on some of the good this display has created.
Our Wish List for a Location
Location off or near a major road
Located in Indian Trail area as we will be there almost every day from setup to take down
Two access points onto the property from the road (Entrance and Exit)
Wood line blocking the view of the display from the road
Gates at each access point to secure the location when not occupied
Cars able to be parked on the property