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The first gift of Christmas

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La Grange couple builds musical holiday light show for month-long display in courthouse square

By Tracy Harris

If you have time, ask this year’s Light Up La Grange designer how he got started with Christmas lights as a child. But make sure you have a while, because Mike Glover has as many holiday stories as he has Christmas lights — and that’s a lot.

Glover and his wife, Vonnie, had their California display named the country’s best two years in a row by HGTV. It included three front yards, three houses, a backyard and a garage.

Now, they’re bringing their show to Oldham County.

The Glovers moved to La Grange earlier this year, and brought a tractor trailer full of Christmas cheer with them. But, their driveway is too narrow to accommodate spectators, so they offered their skills to the city.

Now, Mike won’t say exactly how many lights are displayed in the courthouse square for Light Up La Grange, because there’s a contest for visitors to guess the number.

But he knows. He’s spent months programming the lights, which are synched to music after Mike taps out the beat for each song on his computer’s spacebar.

There are lights on the courthouse, on the gazebo, on the trees — anywhere, and everywhere, they could go. In fact, Mike’s a little disappointed the courthouse has to remain open during the month of December, because he has to work around the sidewalks.

The Glovers donated all their decorations and equipment for the event — along with their time and expertise. Vonnie said the city and county worked together on the event, and the county’s maintenance department has been out for weeks installing electrical boxes and hanging lights. 

Large boom lifts were brought in along with several jail inmates on work release. There are 60 figurines and a sleigh atop the courthouse, too. The show Mike designed includes two programs of six songs each, with a short break between shows. The show repeats about every hour.

Mike’s Christmas light fixation goes back to his childhood. He would give half his paper route money to his parents — and spend his half on lights.

Vonnie said this year they’ll be decorating their house with whatever lights they have left over. 

“It’s just a love of Christmas,” he said. “We wanted to bring the Christmas spirit back.”

And they did. 

The Glovers’ house attracted an estimated 3,500 visitors on Christmas Eve alone. Murietta, Calif., officials honored the couple with numerous awards for their display, although the Glovers say recognition isn’t the point.

“You can give us a trophy and all it’ll do is gather dust,” Mike said. “But the memories we have from doing this will go with us to our graves.”

He says it wouldn’t be the same without Vonnie’s support, either.

“She’s my best friend — I’d rather be with her than anyone else,” he said.

Visitors to the 25th anniversary of Light Up La Grange are encouraged to park in the downtown area and walk down Main Street, where stores will be selling holiday treats as well.

The free event begins 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, with the light show beginning at 6 p.m. Carolers, dancers and other entertainers will be part of the Light Up La Grange celebration. 

Main Street will be closed during the event beginning at 4 p.m. from Cedar Avenue to Ky. 53 and from Second Avenue to Ky. 53. Second and Walnut streets will also be closed from Main to Jefferson. 

Parking is permitted on Walnut from Main to Washington.

The light show will continue weekends through Jan. 1. 

 

Email us about this story at: tharris@oldhamera.com.