Home FROM OUR PAPER Lights for Darlene returns to Lamar County

Lights for Darlene returns to Lamar County

by MyParisTexas
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Lights for Darlene is making a spectacular comeback this year, bringing Christmas joy to Lamar County residents of all ages. 

“I’ve always had a fascination with Christmas lights,” said creator Brad Ford. “Ever since I was a young boy, I always loved this time of year and looking at the Christmas lights.”

It was in 2000 that Ford started collecting lights, and in 2008 he began his annual show. However, it wasn’t until 2011 that the light show became synced with music. 

“I was inspired by the Holdman’s Christmas light show and thought I could do that,” said Ford. 

From 2008 to 2011, Ford researched what he would need to take his light show to the next level. After years of gathering equipment and more lights, the musical light show came to fruition in 2011.

“There is something truly magical about watching the lights move,” he said.

“My dad would tell a story of when I was a boy and how I always loved when the lights went up on the house but didn’t like to take them down. It would be around Spring that my dad would be mowing the lawn and run over what lights were left in the yard,” he said with a chuckle. 

Memories such as those continue to spur Ford and his brother each year to dazzle the imaginations of kids and adults alike. 

“Each year we have had a house that has offered to help be apart of the display. Last year we couldn’t find a location, so when Jason and Stacy Parnell put their hands up to help this year, it was a great feeling to know that the display would be back,” he added. 

To keep it fresh, Ford said he changes the display each year. A significant factor to that is the ever-rotating location, but also the number of lights that go into each show. 

“There are a few pieces that are always used, but it is never the same each year,” he said. 

What began as a childhood fascination evolved into a living memorial each year for his mother, Darlene, who passed from cancer in 2011. It was in honor of his mother that he named the show ‘Lights for Darlene’. 

Past years’ shows saw some 77,465 lights used. A number he keeps close to his chest each year as he makes a guessing game for those that stop by and enjoy. 

“We have a donation box set up in the front that goes to the American Cancer Society, and people can put their guesses in there. For anyone that guesses the number as close to it as possible receives $200, if they’re within 50 lights, they get $300,” Ford explained.   

When asked what it takes to put on such a vast show, Ford said months. 

“I spend every day off I have for months in advance planning, preparing, and of course constructing with the help of my brother.”

A stark reminder of all things joyful and magical around the holiday season is here to stay as locals have said to Ford his display has become a family tradition for many.

“I am so humbled and proud of what this has become. I never expected this show to grow and become as big as it has. From the comments to the smiles on kids’ faces makes me jump up and to get started on the next year,” Ford said

The 2019 Lights for Darlene show has several new additions. Following specific directions to the location is imperative, as the show is programmed for viewers to come from a certain direction. 

Head east on Pine Mill Road from Paris, take a left on Hampton Road then take the first left on Williams Road. Once you have arrived at the show, tune your radio to 92.3FM to listen to the music along with the show. 

“Don’t forget that it’s very important to come from this direction as the show is pointed toward the east. Also, it helps facilitate traffic concerns.” 

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