Keith's Winter Snowland
Kieth LaPrath enjoys a Christmas escape from Burbank, Calif., with his Winter Snowland display.
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Keith LaPrath is in his 15th year of decorating large for Christmas. He first started working on his display in 1988 at the age of 8. He says it usually takes three to four weeks to set up the display, and he started on Keith's Winter Snowland in late October this year.
"My display is pretty much a solo project. Other than my mom lending a hand here or there, it is all me. My Grandmother does all of the character painting for the display," Keith says.
"There are over 20 different animated attractions in the display, all the way down to the smoke coming from the smokestack of the train down to the Nativity on the driveway. I would say that there must be at least 15,000 lights on the display. There are also two smoke generating machines for the display."
A digital controller manages it all. Keith says he has a dedicated 115-amp line for the display, though he's using just over half the available power. "I guess I am planning for feature attractions."
Keith keeps the display on most from Dec. 6 through the 26th and estimates it draws thousands of visitors during that time. "The street sometimes looks like the I-5 freeway at 5:30 p.m. on a Monday."
He says the joy on the faces of visitors makes the work and expense worthwhile, plus it provides a nice holiday escape.
"I love working with my hands and being able to let my imagination run wild. Getting into the display makes you really forget about all the other things in life that are going on," he says.
"Once the display is finished and you take a step back, it makes you fell like you have left Burbank, California, and have been taken to a new place called 'Winter Snowland.' People walk away with a whole new outlook on the holiday season after seeing my display. It leaves the young and old with that warm, good, holiday click-your-heels-together feeling."
Dick Norton's Christmas display and Christmas lights draw thousands to his Burbank home each holiday season.