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Christmas displays light up Sarasota

  • By
  • | 5:00 a.m. December 12, 2013
Photo by Randi Donahue
Photo by Randi Donahue
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Grace Baptist Church
Address: 8000 Bee Ridge Road
Dates: Friday, Dec. 13 through Thursday, Dec. 26
Chuck Pearson and his family started lighting their home in 1999 with about 50,000 lights. But, as the display grew to hundreds of thousands lights and mechanical figurines, the crowds became hard to handle, so Pearson and his wife decided to “pull the plug.” Today, the lights are on at Pearson’s church, Grace Baptist, where there is ample parking and hot chocolate and cookies.

The display runs on a 30-minute program insync with Christmas music. Pearson says his favorite part is seeing the reaction of the people as they walk through the sea of lights.

This display allows you to walk along a path that runs right through the show.

By the numbers:
275 — number of Christmas trees ranging from 5 feet tall
to 51 feet tall
20 — number of angels that light up during the songs
6 — number of years the show has been held at Grace Baptist Church
75 — number of people who are currently building the display

Snowflake House
Address: 3151 Ashton Road
Dates: Friday, Dec. 6 through Wednesday, Jan. 1

Each year Glen McParland and his family add something new to their light display. This year, McParland has introduced a 30-foot inflatable Rudolph that chases a homemade 5-foot carrot.

McParland not only strings the lights around his home using cherry pickers for weeks, he also creates most of the decorations at home.

The Snowflake House started five years ago when McParland hung "Monster Flake," an 8-foot light-up snowflake, 30 feet off the ground. Soon, McParland had dozens of smaller snowflakes floating over his home with the help of zip lines. McParland asks families to stay in their cars to keep traffic moving. This year will be the last year McParland lights his home here because he and his family are moving the display up north to Illinois. 

Light Notables
Regatta Drive

Address: Farthest west point of Regatta Drive, which is located off Gulf Gate Drive
Dates: From now until Jan. 1
At the end of Regatta Drive there is a cul-de-sac where houses are adorned with Christmas lights big and small. One of the most impressive is the low-hanging tree whose foliage spans across two home’s yards and is lined in lights.

Cedarwood Drive
Address: Cedarwood Drive and Kingswood Drive
Dates: From now until Jan. 1
Although there is a dancing tropical Santa Claus, the row of candy canes along the curb and multi-colored arches spanning the street give this neighborhood's light display a more traditional feel.
This is perfect for any family who prefers to enjoy the spirit of Christmas in a quiet setting.

Do you think your Christmas lights should have made this list? Email a photo, address and description of your display to [email protected] to be included on's interactive map of Sarasota's best light displays.

Contact Harriet Sokmensuer at [email protected]

MAP:  Sarasota's best Christmas lights displays

View Sarasota's best Christmas lights displays in a larger map


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