The Christmas season is alive and well at the Coventry homes of both Joey Conway and Tyler Horrocks, thanks to their festive collection of lights, figures and decorations that adorn properties.
Conway, 18, is a recent Coventry High School graduate, who began helping his dad create the winter wonderland as soon as he could climb a ladder, and in recent years has taken over the display with the help of his younger brother, Matt. The Conway Christmas Lights Extravaganza was officially lit for the 2013 season on Thanksgiving night and has already drawn quite a crowd.
This year's display covers the entire front yard and driveway of 265 Maple Valley Road, containing more than 32,000 lights that blink in time with Christmas tunes - a number that Conway continues to expand upon each year. He also acquired more than 100 new decorations for the display since last year, to add to his army of vintage yard figurines, including Mr. and Mrs. Claus, teddy bear soldiers, candles and more.
This is the fourth year that Conway has used his display to collect nonperishable food items for the Coventry Community Food Bank, and he will have a donation area set up on the nights of Dec. 14 and 21 for the cause, as well as free hot chocolate and cookies for guests who donate. He is also collecting donations for The Tomorrow Fund each night and hopes to double last year's nearly $1,000 collection.
The festive display, aptly named, "The Crazy Christmas House", grows each year and now boasts more than three miles of wire and nearly 70,000 working bulbs. Horrocks also spends countless hours creating backdrops like his impressive wooden Polar Express that stole the show last year, as well as video clips that are projected on various surfaces within the display. Setting his display apart from so many others is a 25-song holiday soundtrack flawlessly synced to the blinking Christmas lights.
Again this year, Horrocks has set up a donation box and also held a Holiday Hooplah event to raise money to buy a trained Autism Service Dog for Coventry resident Jacob Matarese, 11, who suffers from variety of conditions including Autism Spectrum Disorder and Noonan Syndrome that make each day a struggle for he and his family. Jacob's family must raise $13,000 towards the dog's purchase, and The Crazy Christmas House has raised $6,000 since its 2013 debut on Nov. 29. Last year, it raised $8,500 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Rounding out the charitable Christmas light display trifecta in Coventry this year is 13-year-old Jake Albanesa, who is honoring the memory of his late friend and ASFMS classmate Jacob Aversa, with a holiday memorial at his family's 19 Larchmont Drive home.
Jacob, who tragically passed away in September at the age of 13, had an obvious affinity for the color purple, inspiring Jake to add a Christmas tree to his display complete with purple lights and ornaments, many of which have been added to the tree by visiting guests. "Jacob's Tree" is accompanied by a handmade sign that reads "In Memory of Jacob Aversa", which Jake hopes is signed by anyone who would like to honor his lost friend.
He has also included lively Christmas music and multi-colored lights, lighted arches and a "mega" tree constructed with a metal pole and strings of lights to round out his display. So far this year he estimates using about 6,000 bulbs.
As a way to help make the holidays a little brighter for the Aversa family, Jake also puts a donation box out each night, the proceeds of which will be personally delivered to them on Christmas Eve.
Click the links below to check out the Facebook pages for each Christmas light display:
The Spirit of Christmas House - 19 Larchmont Drive
The Crazy Christmas House - 9 Blue Spruce Drive
Conway Christmas Lights Extravaganza - 265 Maple Valley Road