Q&A with Kelly Law
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Centerville
OCCUPATION: Chiropractor, Christmas light show designer
QUESTION: Youre a chiropractor -- what got fancy Christmas lights on your mind?
ANSWER: I purchased the office here about four years ago, and the landscaping was so beautiful the first thing I thought was I needed awesome Christmas lights. I searched YouTube, and a video came up where a man had an amazing display set to music. I found the program he used and through trial and error I did it.
QUESTION: You did it all yourself?
ANSWER: Yes. It takes a lot of time to program the lights, and the first year I even got out and strung up the lights myself. Now volunteers put up the lights.
QUESTION: How much time?
ANSWER: You have to have patience. When I started it took about eight hours to program one minute of lights and music. Now its about 12 hours a minute. Ive gotten faster, but what Im doing has gotten a lot bigger.
QUESTION: Had you done programming before?
ANSWER: None. I knew nothing about computers when I started other than how to check e-mail. It was more difficult than I expected, but when I set my mind to something Im pretty dedicated. I love puzzles, and this is like a big puzzle. I have to watch it, or Im sitting at it for hours and hours. I have to practice what I preach and make sure I get up and move around every so often.
QUESTION: Thats a lot of work for a pretty landscape.
ANSWER: Really, its my Christmas present to the community. Thats pretty much what it is. Its not really for advertising -- its fun and happy and I thought the community needed more Christmas lights. Its fun seeing kids faces light up and happy, it makes it worthwhile.
QUESTION: Its called Dr. Laws Leaping Lights and some of them really seem to leap.
ANSWER: The video I found had the leaping lights, and I thought they were the coolest thing ever.
QUESTION: Whats the experience like?
ANSWER: People drive slowly through our parking area where we have the lights. It may take 10 minutes. I have different songs I choose from each night, and because we are saluting the military this year we have a tribute song for that. It lasts over six minutes. It took me about six months to program. The only thing I dont like about it is I couldnt find a song that included all branches including the Coast Guard. If anybody knows of one, let me know.
QUESTION: But it has to have a good beat, to go with the lights, right?
ANSWER: It has to be kind of techno.
QUESTION: Can people stop?
ANSWER: Not in our lot, it has to keep moving. Some people go round and round. You can park in spaces in back of the shopping plaza next to us. People do that.
QUESTION: The lights are interesting, but its the lights and music combination that really makes the difference.
ANSWER: Some people drive by and say how beautiful they are, but then they come through and tune into FM 89.9 and get music and lights and they really enjoy it. It really makes it.
QUESTION: What kind of responses do you get?
ANSWER: I get a lot of thank-yous. I hear a lot of, Wow! That was amazing. Kids laugh and giggle a lot and say its cool.
QUESTION: Do you get out and greet people?
ANSWER: Sometimes Im here for the early part of the night after Im done with work. Our family has made it a tradition to be here Christmas Eve and have corn chowder and wave to people. We have people here each night.
QUESTION: And you take donations?
ANSWER: Yes. Like I said, this year is honoring those who serve in the military, and were taking donations that all go to Wounded Warriors. These are the men and women putting their lives on the line for us -- we should be helping them. Were the land of the free because of them, and that makes me want to give, to help.
QUESTION: What does it do to your electric bill?
ANSWER: It actually doesnt go up that much. We use energy efficient lights and they are blinking and not on constantly. It only goes up about $150 for the month.
QUESTION: You probably use some special lights. How many are out there?
ANSWER: I use regular lights you get at the store for about $2.50 a string. The strobe lights are more. Theyre about $8 each. I figure there are 150,000 lights out there now. The first year about 50,000 and 80,000 the next.
QUESTION: Whats the future for the lights?
ANSWER: I have a lot of fun with it and will continue as long as I can. Ive thought of doing other holidays. Doing the military tribute made me think of doing the Fourth of July. Id love to do it in a bigger place that would be more suited where people could get out and walk around, bring lawn chairs and have a picnic. Id love to do that -- but I havent had any land donated for it, so I dont know how it would happen.
QUESTION: But for now, whats the time and location for the Christmas display?
ANSWER: The lights are on through Christmas Day, Sunday through Thursdays from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Were located at American Chiropractic Specialists, 113 Carl Vinson Parkway near Russell Parkway. Tune to FM 89.9 when you go through.
Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.