Two popular community Christmas light shows will open this week, one in southern Pasquotank County, the other in northern Camden County.
The Dances Bay Christmas Lights Show opens Thanksgiving evening in the Dances Bay subdivision near Nixonton on Thursday and the Walker Family Lights Show opens at 178 Nosay Road in South Mills on Friday.
Nathan McKecuen, co-owner of the Dances Bay Christmas Lights Show, said more than 20 homes in Dances Bay participate in the annual drive-by show, which is open seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. through Jan. 1.
Edward Walker, whose family puts on the South Mills show, said it, too, will be open seven days a week and run from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. through Dec. 31.
McKecuen, who’s been involved in helping organize the Dances Bay lights show for the past 10 years, said his family usually starts decorating for the show in early October while others in the neighborhood wait until November.
McKecuen said he tries to plan something new for the display every year. He said he gets ideas from watching TV shows and videos that feature the work of other holiday light decorators. He also will incorporate suggestions from visitors who drive by the show each year.
“Each year drivers will see something new in our show,” he said. “There’s also the lighthouse that came from the old Southgate Mall that we were able to incorporate into the show.”
Motorists who drive past the McKecuens’ decorated home will see “dancing lights that are moving to music,” he said.
“We post a sign to tell them how they can hear the music in their cars,” he said. “It’s just another way to make it bigger and better than last year.”
McKecuen said his family will be offering hot chocolate and a visit with Santa certain nights during the show’s run. He said visitors should check out the display’s Facebook page for dates and times.
The show is free to passers-by but the McKecuen family welcomes cash donations at a site set aside on their property.
For motorists who don’t mind a short walk, McKecuen recommends parking your vehicle and strolling by to get an even closer look at the display.
Some visitors take advantage of multiple places to take photos with the McKecuens’ 40-foot-tall Santa lighthouse. A fire truck retired from a Pasquotank volunteer fire department is another popular feature in the lights display.
McKecuen said he and his neighbors get a lot of enjoyment from seeing others enjoy the lights display.
“Our family and the neighbors do this just to see the joy on their faces,” he said.
He asked motorists to be patient if they arrive for the show and find vehicles moving slowly past the display. Motorists also don’t need to worry about getting lost. Traffic flows one way into the Dances Bay neighborhood and one way out, he said.
Like the McKecuens, the Walkers have been decorating their home for Christmas for a number of years. Walker said he’s loved Christmas light displays since he was a child.
“My memories of riding around with my family at Christmastime looking at all the colorful lights was a joyful time of my life,” he said. “Doing this for the community brings the childlike feeling back to me.”
The Walkers also plan to add a few new wrinkles to their Christmas light display this year. Unless it rains on Dec. 8, visitors can expect to see Santa at the light show, spreading good cheer.
Like the Dances Bay show, visitors to the Walkers’ show are welcome to park and get a closer look at the Christmas lights display.
“They usually park in the lot of the (nearby) business or on the side of the road and walk down the driveway or path,” Walker said.
He did have one request of any motorist electing to park and walk to the display: “If possible please keep your parking lights on to prevent the chance of accidents,” he said.
The Walker Family Lights Show will again be collecting donations this year to support a charitable cause. The beneficiary will be the Camden County’s Children’s Fund.