City of Franklin kicked off the holiday season with a tree lighting ceremony on the public square. Shelley Mays/The Tennessean
The fact that Metro Beautification discontinued its annual Holiday Lights competition has not dimmed Kevin Williams’ enthusiasm for decorating.
Williams, who won his district in the lights competition three years in a row, is back at it and just as fired up as ever this Christmas season — official contest or not.
Williams, a 20-year-old college student, says he takes his inspiration from his grandpa and uncle who used to decorate for Christmas when he was a "little fella" too small to get up on the roof with them. And he says that once he got started following in their holiday footsteps, he just can’t seem to stop.
He calls it his "Christmas magic."
"Just when it seems as if I can’t think of any more to add, something always ends up going up," said Williams, who does all of the decorating during his Thanksgiving break from his studies at University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where he is studying music.
"Each year the ideas grew and so did the display," he said of his 2017 exhibition at his grandparents house at 4025 Keeley Drive in Antioch. The display now includes a reindeer pulling Santa onto the icicled roof ("We put a motor with it and it actually runs up and down the side of the house!," he said), Mickey’s Gingerbread House, as well as Mickey and Minnie, multiple stars, candy canes, a lighted Nativity, several Nutcrackers, and a holiday train.
Kevin Williams decorates his grandparents’ house at 4025 Keeley Drive in Antioch every Christmas.
(Photo: Submitted Photo)
Williams clearly loves his project and the positive response he gets from his family and from passersby:
"I may not have the flashiest display with a light show and music, but I think it is well organized and classy. I value simple, clean, and symmetrical things over volume. This year’s addition is two angels and a star. The two angels are bolted to the roof while the star is hung from my uncle’s ham radio tower in the back yard——I climbed 35 feet up on that thing to put it up there——top 10 scariest things I’ve ever done," he said, laughing.
"The star and angels are a nice addition in my opinion and are a great reminder of the reason for celebrating this holiday. My ultimate goal isn’t for fame and recognition — I just hope that when people drive by they get a smile on their face and feel the Christmas spirit.
"I think a lot of people value that people like me take the time to decorate their houses," he said. "Yeah it’s a lot of work, but it brings joy to people and makes people get into the Christmas spirit. What more can you ask for! "
There may not be a citywide lights contest this year, but Williams and his creation is definitely a winner in my book.
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Some other recommended light displays
Kevin Williams’ Christmas display, described above, is at 4025 Keeley Drive in Antioch. It will be up from dusk until about 11 p.m. through New Year’s Day.
This is the 35th — and final — year for Sunnyside Lights at 1956 Sunnyside Drive off Hillsboro Road in Brentwood. This display, created by Bill Minneci in memory of his son, has become a Christmas Light tradition that draws as many as 2,000 cars (and lots of buses) per night. Not only are the lights wonderful (there are over 97,000 lights) but Santa will be there for visits and picture from 5:30- 9:30 Dec. 15-23, with donations accepted for the Shrine Children’s Hospital. sunnysidelights.com
Drive down West End Avenue to see the Parthenon in its holiday glory with its red and green lights. It’s very festive and easy to drive by.
Gaylord Opryland Resort with its millions of lights is always a holiday destination. You can drive around the circle at the Magnolia Lobby and see an impressive array of the white lights as well as the beautiful larger than life nativity.
Hillsboro West End Neighborhood (around Hillsboro Village) has some great displays that were entered in their neighborhood holiday lights contest. Good streets include: Fairfax, Westwood, Westmoreland and Barton avenues.
Sumner County has some good light looking options: Fairview Plantation in Gallatin and Lights on Luna, 176 Luna Lane, in Hendersonville, were both recommended.
London’s Lights on Barnes Road in Antioch.
The Lipscomb University circle in front of the Allen Arena has a spectacular light exhibition with beautifully lighted trees.
And if you know of other great light displays, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org