Over the top Christmas lights
It’s dark on Bonita Grande this year without the famous Flesher lights, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other places to see the twinkling, sparkling colors along with a huge assortment of decorations in the Estero, Bonita, North Naples area.
Taking over as the biggest single display in this area is Paul Brooks’ “Over the Top Christmas Lights.” This is the fourth year of his display and he is bringing it back bigger and better than ever.
This year there are 102,750 lights synchronized to the music of more than 40 songs.
Brooks begins synchronizing his music to lights in January and has the programs complete by August. He builds most of his decorations and then starts stringing lights in October.
Now each night from 6-10 p.m., the lights on his 1 ¼ acre property dance to dozens of holiday songs. In January, he will have a new show of songs for almost two more weeks.
“I spend so much time putting this stuff up that I didn’t want it just to be the one use. I wanted to get as much value out of it as I can so I have always done a Christmas and a New Year’s show,” Brooks said.
The lights wrap around the base of the 119 year old Mysore fig that is 93 feet high, 40 feet around and 130 feet at the crown. It is the state champion and the largest in the United States.
There are even more lights on stars, reindeer, trees and two giant light wheels. This year there are 25,000 more lights than last year along with new four by six panels that stretch along the entire side of the property.
There are also new holiday trees packed with lights.
Brooks says it takes about 40 hours to synchronize just one song.
“Anybody who does one of these shows says, ‘I am not doing it next year’ and you still do it,” Brooks said. “I will probably continue at least until my mother dies because she likes the lights and the songs.”
Brooks’ mother is 93. He said he started the display because of her.
“My mother likes lights,” he said. “She always has. So I started putting lights up and every year I put more lights up. If I had the money my goal would be one million lights.”
He also has a lot of new songs this year such as “Snoopy’s Christmas” in the Christmas show and “Purple People Eaters” in the New Year’s show.
The show is free, but Brooks has a donations box.
He also sells jelly made from the Mysore fig.
All donations go to the care of the champion tree.
• Bonita no longer has one big display.
Instead, lighted homes are scattered around the community. There are some off East Terry Street and others off Pennsylvania.
• West Valley Drive in Bonita Shores has lighted homes, too.
The biggest display is in the park on Old Highway 41, where all the trees and the bandshell twinkle with thousands of tiny white lights.
• In North Naples, Victoria Park is the place to see lights every year.
Almost every home in the 300-house community is decorated. There are homemade creations such as hand-carved scenes from the “Grinch who Stole Christmas,” a huge sleigh, and figurines around an ice skating pond.
There is also a huge array of inflatables from the traditional Santas and snowmen to the more creative and unusual.
New this year is a home dedicated to the armed forces.
Each street in Victoria Park also has a theme where every mailbox has a themed decoration. There are streets with Christmas trees, candy canes, stars, angels, snowmen and more.
The most famous is the arch street where giant lighted arches stretch across the street. On Christmas Eve, every home has luminaries lit along the property.
If you go
What: Synchronized light show
Where: 9011 E. Broadway, Estero
When: 6-10 p.m. nightly. Christmas show runs through Dec. 31, New Year’s show runs Jan 1-13 (pre-show at 5:45 p.m.)
What: Victoria Park lights
Where: off Airport Pulling Road south of Immokalee Road