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Light show helps Canine Assistants
'Blink Midwinter' runs through Jan. 1
Dog WEB 2
Dan Campbell works with a few of the thousands of carefully arranged lights that make up his Christmas display. Donations during the Campbells’ light display will benefit the Canine Assistants program. - photo by Jim Dean

If you go

• What: Blink Midwinter

• Where: 7020 Cole Court in northwestern Forsyth

• When: Now through Jan. 1; 5:30 to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5:30 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday

• Online:

When approaching Cole Court, Christmas looks a little brighter.

The Campbell house has about 22,000 lights twinkling to music in what they call “Blink Midwinter.”

Dan Campbell said the show took about 200 hours in front of a computer to program, plus building the structures and setting up the lights.

Programming and building can go year-round, he said, and setup begins after Halloween.

Campbell said he got the idea to program the holiday show after visiting the nearby “Christmas in Cumming” light show on Larry Drum’s street in 2007.

In 2008, Campbell and his wife, Diane, created their first display with just white lights.

Over the years, the show has evolved into the thousands of colorful lights dancing to 17 minutes of music that can be heard on the radio.

Cars can park in the cul-de-sac of the northwestern Forsyth neighborhood to enjoy the show, Campbell said. He and his wife will direct traffic and visit with the guests.

“It’s pretty cool to talk to people, give them a candy cane, say ‘Merry Christmas’ and chat with them for a while,” Campbell said.

Last year, he noticed visitors often reaching for money, which he’d tell them to put away.

But this year, the Campbells decided to open up their show to a cause.

“We’re both animal lovers and she wanted to do something to help people and animals,” Campbell said. “So God just put on her heart to help Canine Assistants.”

The Alpharetta-based nonprofit trains service dogs for children and adults with physical disabilities, seizure conditions or other special needs.

Connie Buchanan of Canine Assistants said the organization has been a beneficiary of several types of charity events, but the Christmas light show is a first.

Representatives of the group brought golden retrievers Rabbit and Camilla out to “Blink Midwinter” earlier this week.

Ignoring the thousands of blinking lights (as their training teaches them), the dogs enjoyed the attention from passers-by.

Donations can be accepted in a bucket in the front yard, or on the show’s Web site.

The Campbells have plans to continue the show and possibly link two neighbors interested in joining.

Watching folks enjoying the display is Campell’s favorite part of creating Blink Midwinter.

“Some little kids just really get into it. They’re bouncing around and having a great time,” he said. “It’s just so cool sharing joy.”