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10,000 points of light

Forget the electric bill. Some Juneau homes have gone all out to light up the neighborhood.

Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2002

Last year Kieran O'Farrell and her husband, Fred Kaiser, decked their house at 3153 Pioneer Ave. on Blueberry Hill with so many Christmas lights it blew their circuits. This year they didn't cut back. They just rewired.

Their house twinkles in the frosty night like a Vegas casino.

"The meter's just spinning. I am expecting a Christmas card from AEL&P any day now," said O'Farrell.

O'Farrell and Kaiser's home was one of many adorned abodes that Juneauites recommended the Empire include in a listing of holiday lighted homes.

Must-see houses on a driving tour of holiday lights

This is a list of decorated homes submitted to the Empire by Juneau citizens, and is by no means complete. Rather, this list is a starting point for those in the mood for a holiday decoration tour. All that's needed is a car and a map.

437 11th

8445 Duran St.

503 "F" St.

8546 Forest Lane

7520 Glacier Highway

7210 Glacier Highway

305 Highland Dr.

4415 Mint Way

4411 Mint Way

4409 Mint Way

1260 Mendenhall Peninsula Rd.

9056 Ninnis Drive

3153 Pioneer Ave.

210 St. Ann's Avenue

9345 Turn St.

135 Troy Ave.

9354 Rivercourt Way

9180 Wolfram Way

O'Farrell and Kaiser have thousands of white lights on their home, and the windows display two sparkling Christmas trees, one 12 feet tall in an upstairs window with a 7-footer below. The whole scene took them about two days to create, O'Farrell said.

"It takes just about as much time to string 4,000 lights as it takes to string 10,000 lights," O'Farrell said. " You're already up there on the ladder, you might as well."

John d'Armand wrote in to suggest homes at 7520 and 7210 Glacier Highway for the lighted home listing. At 7210, glowing reindeer leap into the sky from their frozen roof. At 7520, a nativity scene gleams while lights wink from the eaves. Of 7520, d'Armand wrote, "This home has every angle of the architecture lined with lights thus presenting to a viewer at night a home built of lights.

"It looks like a fairy house," d'Armand said. "Both houses are the most beautiful I have seen and I used to live a block away from Mint Way."

Mint Way, historically a heavily lit area, was at least partly aglow on Wednesday night with well-trimmed homes at 4409, 4411, 4415, and many a yard decoration, including an 8-foot tall inflatable Santa slouching on a balcony.

Possibly the most elaborately decorated home in town may be at 437 11th St. downtown near Northern Light United Church. Every surface of the home is covered with colored lights, four Santas wave from the yard, and a speaker mounted under the eaves plays gospel Christmas carols.

Susanne Williams, who's observed Christmas decorations in Juneau for more the 20 years, said she thought this was a particularly good year for those who enjoy looking at lighted homes. Her favorites were at 305 Highland Dr. and at 135 Troy Ave.

"I think because we are having a mild winter, people have felt more inclined to decorate their homes," she said. "We have such long, dark days I think it is good for everybody that people put lights on."

Lavena Sargent wrote to nominate her parents, Evelyn and Cliff Reeves. They are in their late 70s, and decorating their home at 1260 Mendenhall Peninsula Road is one of their favorite hobbies. They collect decorations all year, and people tease them that a low-flying plane might mistake their yard for a runway. Sargent appreciates their decorating enthusiasm because it keeps them active, she said.

"It makes them happy when they can look in kids' faces when they come by," Sargent said. "They just light up."

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