Houston & Peach

Neighbors spread Christmas cheer through friendly light war

Christmas competition lights up quiet street

A friendly neighbor competition has created quite a spectacle on Horseshoe Drive in Warner Robins, where two men who live across from each other go all out on Christmas lights.
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A friendly neighbor competition has created quite a spectacle on Horseshoe Drive in Warner Robins, where two men who live across from each other go all out on Christmas lights.

Horseshoe Drive is a short, quiet little side street in Warner Robins, but it is big on Christmas spirit thanks to a friendly competition between two neighbors.

Ron Welch has long done Christmas lights at his home, but he started to step it up some after Harris Roberts married his neighbor four years ago. Roberts already had a great affinity for Christmas lights, but he previously had a small yard. His new wife had a nice, big yard where he could really go all out.

Not to be outdone, Welch tried to stay ahead of him, and each year they both added a little more. What they now have makes for quite a spectacle, and even some other neighbors have started to join in, although not to their extent.

"We both have fun and add a little bit every year," said Welch, who makes many of the ornaments he uses, including a reindeer carousel he added this year.

Roberts didn't have an estimate on how much money he has spent on the decorations, but he said it's not as much as it might seem. He hits the stores after Christmas to get the best deals on lights.

Welch said his lights used to run up his electricity bill about $30 or more for the month, but since he switched to LED lights, he hardly notices a difference. Roberts also switched to LEDs this year.

Roberts said he has always relished the Christmas season.

"I love this time of year," he said. "Everybody gets a little nicer and a little more friendly. I just like seeing the kids' faces light up.

"It's just my favorite time of year."

Because they are on a street that doesn't have a lot of traffic, they have been something of a secret until recently. The word about them got out when Telegraph columnist Alline Kent featured them in a list of best Christmas lights in Houston County, and since then they have been seeing more traffic.

Asked who he thought was winning their light war, Roberts said he liked the way Kent put it.

"The folks of Warner Robins are winning," he said.

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