Livermore lights up with holiday cheer

December 21, 2010 1:11:26 AM PST
The spirit of Christmas is certainly alive in Livermore, where lights and decorations are plentiful. One holiday display has been fascinating visitors for 28 years.

The neighborhood is shining, as new technology puts a spin on the classic look.

A few miles away in Sue Bird's living room, she has an entire Christmas village which has more than 150 houses and country scenes. It takes her three weeks to set up. She began with animated animals that were taking up too much room and it grew until every room in her house was decorated. Friends rave about it.

"We started with the village and it ended up bigger than all of the animated animals," says Bird.

When asked what her PG&E bill is this time of year, she replies, "It's been $500 and one year it was $800. So, I've learned not to turn it on so frequently at that point."

But what the heck, she says this makes her happy.

And when ABC7 asked what her husband thought about this collection, she says, "He teases me about being obsessed and carried away, but he loves it."

She does admit it's a bit of an obsession.

A few miles away, there is a display to end all displays. Deacon Dave, from Casa del Pomba, turns on the holiday cheer in his front yard with more than 325,000 lights. This is the 28th year he's done this.

"I decided I wanted to do something more far reaching for people of all faiths or no faiths. It's been absolutely amazing, the response," says Deacon Dave.

Inside, there are 44 Christmas trees; one is two stories high.

"There are over 1,000 ornaments on this particular tree," says Deacon Dave about the two-story tree.

Out back is a chapel he restored filled with antiques and pieces from old St. Michael's Church. There is an angel that weighs 250 pounds. Out front is "Proposal Bridge." There have been 51 marriage proposals here and 50 have been successful -- one didn't take.

"I said 'Well, I don't do any guarantees,'" says Deacon Dave.

He started putting this up on Sept. 1, in 100 degree heat. It's hard to get the spirit then, but it is amazing to look at now.


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