WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — In the spirit of giving, one Westerville family is using their elaborate Christmas light display to give back to their community.
Rick Hilyard has put on The Dazzling Christmas Light Show for 15 years. After seeing how many people it attracted, he said he saw an opportunity to help his community by collecting canned food for the Westerville Area Resource Ministry.
“The first year, I think we did like 600 pounds of food,” said Hilyard.
Ever since then, Hilyard said their canned good yields have increased — now, they average 3,000 pounds of canned food collected in just a month.
Hilyard said he loves how something as fun and festive as a music-synchronized light show can bring the community together for a good cause.
“Not only do the kids love it, they love seeing Santa in the window and kind of singing out the window their favorite songs,” Hilyard said. “And I think a lot of people, if they don’t realize the first time they come that, ‘Hey, we can donate food,’ they come back and they donate.”
Saturday’s event was geared toward children — Hilyard had hot chocolate, crafts and even had Santa appear.
Caroline Fortman, who lives across the street, said she looks forward to the light show every year — it’s like she gets a front row view.
“I think it’s pretty amazing that we get to go see it, but we are also helping people, too,” said Fortman.
The light show is synced to radio station 90.1, but a new feature this year allows viewers to pick the music they want to listen to on the Dazzling Light Show’s website.
“If you ever feel like, ‘Bah, humbug!’ during that season, I tell anyone: Just come sit out in front of the house and just wait for the first car with the kids to come up and they’re screaming, they’re yelling, they’re having fun, and so you just always want to give back,” Hilyard said.
Hilyard will be collecting donations and putting on the light show at 649 Old Coach Road through the first week of January. Show times are 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.