A whole watt of lights!
Tune to 90.7 FM
The show runs 5:00-9:30p nightly from December 1-January 1
Musically Synced Light Show with 432 individual channels and 16k Pixels
Full show lasts 18min and automatically repeats:
Linus and Lucy (Vince Guaraldi Trio) – 3:00
Carol of the Bells (Mannheim Steamroller) – 3:46
Decorations (Bob Rivers) – 2:18
Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer (Home Free) – 3:23
I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas (Gayla Peevey) – 2:38
Wizards of Winter (Trans-Siberian Orchestra) – 3:03
Light Show Etiquette:
Thank you for visiting the Blinkenhaus! To help our neighbors & your fellow enthusiasts enjoy the lights:
- Please don’t block our neighbors’ driveways and keep your vehicle music to a reasonable level.
- Please feel free to walk along the sidewalk and driveway entrance but stay out of the yard itself and don’t touch the props.
- Please turn off your headlights as you are parked (and make sure to turn them on when you leave!)
- Please keep your speeds slow – there will be people walking around, and kids like to dash back & forth.
How long does it take to set up the Blinkenhaus?
Currently about 200 hours annually. Thankfully some festive friends pitch in for the big stuff!
That’s just the physical set-up. For each new song that is added, it takes roughly 8 hours of work to program one 3 minute song.
Where do you store everything?
Luckily, we have a friend with a barn that has a large (previously) unused room in the loft. It’s a full day to transport everything!
Smaller things (or projects for the off-season) are stored around the house, wherever they fit.
How much is the electricity bill for the Blinkenhaus?
Our lights are a gift to the community, and you don’t tell how much a gift costs. 🙂
How many lights are there on the Blinkenhaus?
Roughly 150,000. Probably more, but at this point it’s hard to keep count.
How long have you done this?
First year of a “big” display was 2019, and it’s grown by leaps & bounds each year since.
What do your neighbors think??
They’re generally very cool (we bribe them with cocoa), and we appreciate their support – and your help in keeping them happy (see the etiquette section). Special shout-out to our next-door crew for letting us expand the inflatable village onto their lawn!
Where did you get everything?
99% of it was used or on deep discounts – Craigslist, garage sales, Facebook marketplace. Long-time area light fans should recognize a few elements from the infamous Greeley Grizwalds. 🙂 It’s a hodge-podge collection that has accumulated piece by piece over many years. December 26 is traditionally a big shopping day!
Where can I find other light shows in the area?
There’s plenty of great lists out there.
- The Fort Collins Coloradoan annually publishes a listing, as does the Greeley Tribune
- Mile High on the Cheap is great for state-wide, as is the 9News app
- Northern Colorado Christmas Lights on Facebook
- TownSquare Media typically features the top displays and holds a contest with prizes
- Larimer County publishes a lights map
- There are some (inter)national apps like ChristmasLightFinder & ChristmasLightGuide, but they tend to have fewer local submissions than the links above
How does it all work?
Lights come in 3 types: traditional, dumb RGB and smart RGB.
About 80% of the lights are traditional (and 80% of those LED). These are the regular lights you likely decorate your own tree with. Most of the props, arches, lawn & roof striping are this type.
Dumb RGB are lights that can change color, but only the entire strip together. Examples of this in the display include the Really Big Bulbs lining the front sidewalk.
Smart RGB lights (pixels) are individually programmable – each light in the string can be a different color. Very fun for creative designs! The trees on the roof & yard, mini trees in the yard, panel/matrix and flood lights are this type.
The traditional lights feed into boxes that each control 16 channels of lights (individual strands or groups of strands), from manufacturers such as Light-O-Rama, D-Light and Animated Lighting. There’s 27 of these controllers in the 2022 show.
Each controller needs both power and networking to communicate, and there’s roughly a quarter mile of network cable and over 300 extension cords throughout the display to pull it all together, plus some additional power injection for the pixel props. Just wiring and mapping the channels is a full week’s worth of set up time itself!
Everything connects back to the master control PC, which is overseeing 5 different networks and tying it all together. Light-O-Rama software is used to control each individual light channel (432 of them in 2022 plus roughly 16k pixels) down to the millisecond while synced with the selected audio.
Also using the software, the songs automatically cycle through their rotation according to the programmed schedule. The PC’s audio feed is tied into a low-power radio transmitter to broadcast the audio within the neighborhood.
I’d like to get started with my own light show!
Awesome! Every decoration is cause for a smile, whether a single strand or a big production. The simplest way to get started is with a Light-O-Rama starter pack, – you can make amazing shows with just a single controller! – but there are many paths to enjoy.
Reach out to Brad using the contact form below – he loves giving technical tours of the back-end of the show and would be more than happy to answer questions and help you get started. No affiliate links or product kick-backs – just looking to spread some more light. 🙂