A display that fell on her, requiring staples to close a head wound.
Wind and other elements wearing on displays that are nearly 50 years old.
Those are just a few of the challenges Heidi Kersten has been facing for the past several years, as she, with the help of a few friends, attempts to keep going the famous light display her father, Larry started around 1965.
Despite the challenges, including the wind storm of 2011, Heidi has continued to set up the show pretty much the way her father did for decades.
“I have had to retire a couple of displays, including the cowboy and the Good Shepherd,” Heidi explains. Also, recent wind damage means that the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh will not be moving this year, although the display will be included.
Last year, Heidi announced that she may not be able to continue operating the full display, but with the help of friends, she has most of it up, and ready to turn on for the first time when the sun goes down on Thanksgiving. She still has a few things to fix, and some displays she hopes to paint in the near future.
To thank her friends for their years of help and support, Heidi has painted a new display, which depicts a girl in winter wear, feeding a rabbit. To Heidi, that painting is all about friendship, and the way people have been there for her.
Larry designed and created all of the moving displays himself. He used themes from popular TV shows or other cultural trends of the times. Keeping the mechanical parts moving and their motors working is one of the many challenges Heidi has in mind when she says the displays need lots of TLC.
As always, a wooden giraffe which Larry named “Shorty” will be along the road, to allow those who enjoy the display to make a donation to help cover the cost of the electricity.
The lights will go on Thanksgiving night, and continue until a couple days after Christmas. They go on at dusk and off at 9:30 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekends. The address is 5598 22nd Ave. Trail, about three miles northwest of Vinton on the blacktop that connects Vinton and Mount Auburn.
See photos of the first night’s lights last year HERE.
See a video of part of the display below: