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Houses light up night for season
Larry Drum works on one of the hundreds of strings of outdoor lights that adorn his neighborhood for the Christmas in Cumming display. - photo by Jim Dean

If you go

* Blink Midwinter: 7020 Cole Court; runs 5:30 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5:30 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; last show is New Year’s Day

* Christmas in Castille: 4220 Tivoli Way; runs 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; last show is Jan. 5

* Christmas in Cumming: 4730 Bryn Ridge Court; runs weekdays from 6 to 9 p.m. and weekends 6 to 10 p.m.; last show is Christmas Day

Hundreds of thousands of lights dance in time to the music of popular Christmas songs in three mesmerizing displays set up at local homes.

For those looking to light up the season, there’s no shortage of synchronized holiday light shows in Forsyth County.

Longtime local favorite Christmas in Cumming returns this year after taking a break in 2012.

Larry Drum said the show is a little bit “lower key” than in past seasons, but he and four of his neighbors have decked their homes in thousands of lights for the show.

This year’s display is a drive-through only, rather than allowing parking in the cul-de-sac, Drum said, but people can come by as many times as they would like.

As with all the shows, visitors should set their radios to the station advertised outside to hear the music timed with the blinking lights.

Though once a one-house show, Blink Midwinter has expanded to include four homes this year.

“My wife asked them, ‘Do you want to join in the reindeer games,’” said show creator Dan Campbell. “They all put up lights anyway, so it was a matter of just timing it to the show.”

Campbell said the display has limited parking in the cul-de-sac, and traffic is directed on busy nights.

The busiest nights are the days leading up to Christmas and Saturdays, which is when the dogs come to visit.

Canine Assistants, the show’s charity beneficiary, brings out some of the pups that are trained as service dogs for children and adults who have physical disabilities, seizure conditions or other special needs.

Campbell said he started collecting for the nonprofit three years ago because people always tried to give him money, even though the show was just for fun.

He most loves greeting people and seeing the looks on kids’ faces when they watch the display.

The holiday has always been his favorite, and combined with his interest in electronics, the show began in 2008.

Like the other two Forsyth County show creators, Ken MacMaster also said his love of technology led him to create his display, Christmas in Castille.

“The wires and the programming, that’s a big kick for me,” MacMaster said. “I also like just putting a smile on people’s faces.”

He also loves to share stories about how he created the display, which takes about a month to install, and much longer to program.

MacMaster, who’s in his third year with it, said he has always enjoyed watching other people’s displays, including the local ones.

“For anyone who wants to go on a light tour,” he said, “there’s definitely enough lights in Forsyth County to go around and visit them.”