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Local light displays will brighten your holiday mood

By Kimberly Jordan kjordan@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 17, 2015 at 5:38 PM

Looking for a way to enhance your Christmas cheer this season? Look no further than some local light displays.

Chad’s Winter Wonderland, ChristmasLand and a house on Castle Heights Avenue all offer unique opportunities for residents to get their Christmas light fix. 

Chad Barnard, creator of Chad’s Winter Wonderland, holds his annual drive-thru at his home just off of Highway 109 in Lebanon, and ChristmasLand is located at the home of Unity Church Pastor Kenneth Bowen on Trousdale Ferry Pike.

Felicia Highers and her husband have been displaying lights throughout their yard since moving to Lebanon in 2011. The yard is filled with lights that are set to music.

“I’ve always liked lights,” Highers said. “So when I first started dating my husband, he started decorating my house and it grew from there.”

She credits a trip to Gatlinburg several years ago with the idea to add music into the mix.

“They had something called ‘Christmas Extremists’ showing where people had set their Christmas lights to music, and we thought it was a neat idea.”

So passersby can stop and watch the lights as they dance to the music of songs including “Wizards in Winter” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra and traditional favorites such as “Jingle Bells” and “Silent Night.” 

For those who have seen the display in the past, the Highers have added a second “mega tree” to the mix that is 10 feet tall. The lights run from 5-10:30 p.m. on weeknights and from 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday at 705 Castle Heights Ave.

“On Monday the 23rd, Santa will be here from 6-8 p.m. and children of all ages can have their picture made,” Highers said.

Many local residents are familiar with ChristmasLand and Chad’s Winter Wonderland.

ChristmasLand is in its 18th year and The Rev. Kenneth Bowen, pastor of Lebanon’s Unity Church, holds the display that is known for “keeping Christ in Christmas.” 

Bowen said traffic through the display has been good so far this year, but a bit slower than in past years.

“It’s been a little slow because of the weather, with the wind and rain and snow,” he said. “I told somebody the other day that it is all in God’s hands and there is nothing we can do about it.”

Return visitors to the drive-thru lighting experience can count on a few new additions to the 2013 show.

“We’ve added about $3,000 in new items,” Bowen said. “We have a new Ferris wheel, a new police car and an ice cream slide with penguins and ice cream cones.”

There is also a different nativity scene in this year’s display. All of the additions were made possible through a donation box posted at the entrance to the display.

ChristmasLand is located at 1130 Trousdale Ferry Pike. The display is open from 5-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday through Dec. 31.

The largest display in the county belongs to Chad Barnard, Lebanon resident and Wilson County Commissioner. Chad’s Winter Wonderland has attracted not only local visitors, but people from across the country, and even from other countries.

Barnard said he began creating his light show at age 12, and it has grown to fill his eight-acre property and includes nearly 2 million lights.

He said he started by decorating around his house and things expanded from there.

“I’ve had a lot of people through the years donate stuff they aren’t using anymore,” said Barnard. “I’ve had donations to help pay for the light bill. People have been real generous through the years.

“I enjoy just trying to get it all ready. What I like about adding is – a lot of time when you go somewhere they say ‘It’s the same old thing,’ no one can ever say that about mine.”

This year’s additions include scenery from the 12 Days of Christmas, a new covered bridge and a new train.

One visitor to the wonderland hailed from Wisconsin and another came visiting from “Down Under.”

“A lot of people from out of town,” he said. “A lady told me the other night she was from Australia. She was Skyping with her husband and son, who got to say hi to Santa.”

Chad’s Winter Wonderland is open Monday-Thursday as well as Sunday from 5-10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5-11 p.m. The cost is $10 per car Monday-Thursday and $15 per car Friday-Sunday.

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