Local Light Show Wins $10,000 Prize in National Contest
The "Our Dancing Lights" show was named the best display of Clark-Griswold-style spirit; here's what the show's creator has to say about that.
When Brent Waldrep set out to wrap his house in 47,000 lights, all set to flash in time to holiday music, he wasn't seeking fame or fortune.
But he admits $10,000 and the first-place title in a national competition doesn't hurt his big picture.
Waldrep is the creator of Our Dancing Lights, the music-and-light spectacular that has attracted thousands of visitors each Christmas season for the past six years. The show is located at his home on Paramount Lane, across the border of Rochester Hills in Auburn Hills.
Earlier this month, Waldrep learned he won the grand prize in the Griswold Lightacular Challenge, a national contest sponsored by Old Navy to find the home that best channeled the Griswold holiday spirit (made famous by Chevy Chase's character "Clark Griswold" in the movie Christmas Vacation.)
The prize comes with national recognition and a $10,000 cash prize, intended to pay the winner's electricity bill for a year.
Waldrep said the prize will more than cover that cost: because he uses mostly LED lights, his electric bill during the duration of the display was only about $330. But it will go a long way in helping out with the cost of the lights and other equipment he uses for the show. He received the check in the mail on Tuesday.
Waldrep said the "Griswold" title is appropriate: he is referred to (endearingly, of course) by that name by those who know him best. He also said that though the award is a great recognition, it doesn't mean as much as the joy and happiness his show brings to visitors.
Waldrep mentions a note he received from a visitor to the show this year.
"I come often to not feel so alone," the note stated.
"That right there is what will keep me going when it's 20 degrees out and I'm taking down the lights," he said. "This is all about making people happy."
The show is a benefit for The Rainbow Connection in Rochester. This year, Our Dancing Lights raised $5,164.27 for the cause — almost double from the previous year.
As he takes down and stores away his lights in the coming weeks, Waldrep said he'll already be planning next year's display. "I have a few ideas in my head," he said.
For more about the show, visit www.OurDancingLights.com.