Three hundred glowing snowmen. A string of 210,000 twinkling lights. A 28-foot castle with 28 Gothic-style windows.
Lighted holiday displays in front yards and on roof tops have reached an epic level of artistry, scale and, at times, gaudy glitz.
Many neighborhoods across Sonoma County enliven their doorways with lights and displays. To guide you, we've compiled a list of some of the most festive homes and streets. The list is by no means comprehensive, so add your home and a photo to our holiday lights map at www.pressdemocrat.com.
Neighborhood light displays may always be part competition, but underneath the endless candy canes and piles of fake snow, there's something deeper in the effort.
Case in point: Rohnert Park's holiday lights celebrity Scott Weaver and his magnificent December-long scenes on Cielo Circle.
Sure, he's got a 23-foot Abominable Snowman, a moving magic carpet, all 101 dalmatians and a star that reaches 51 feet off the ground. But as Weaver sketched, pounded and painted about 300 characters to life — outside his full-time work managing the produce section at Lucky Supermarket — he embedded family memories in each creation.
The ghost of Mufasa on his roof represents Weaver's father in a scene from the Lion King in which Mufasa tells Simba to “get off his butt and get back to the jungle,” Weaver said, just like Weaver's father encouraged him to stop drinking.
Weaver crafted a forest of elegant pine trees while sitting at his mother's side as she fought brain cancer. She died on Christmas Eve in 2003.
“And then I did what she would have wanted me to do, which is go back and pass out candy canes,” Weaver said.
He memorialized his mother with a flying angel playing trumpet on his roof.
The list goes on (and includes his beloved Great Dane Chloe), but for those who hang thousands of lights and spend thousands on utility bills, it's just a normal holiday tradition to trade effort for smiles, Weaver's 18-year-old son Tyler said.
“Christmas to me is not so much about getting presents or rushing down the stairs to see what I got,” Tyler said. “It's how many people are going to come by and see my house and how many smiles we'll get in a night.”