CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Nestled on Woodland Drive in the Western Branch portion of Chesapeake, a home with more than 100,000 lights shines brightly in the night. The Williford family has been transforming their home into a winter wonderland for about a decade.
Dalton Williford said it takes about three months total. One month for him and a handful of others to set up the lights, a month for the community to enjoy it and another month to tear everything down.
"I do sections at a time, come in here and then get the lights up on the house," said Dalton on Christmas night.
The home is located at 4028 Woodland Drive and they turn the lights on every night, weather permitting. The tradition started about a decade ago and for a few years, they would add more and more to the display. Dalton said for the past five or six years, they have had about the same number of lights and decorations out.
There are about 35 inflatable creatures, ranging from Santa to the yellow minions from the movie, "Despicable Me" and Star Wars. Dalton said the goal is to have something for all ages. He even built boxes to house unique caroler dolls and trinkets he's found or items donated to the family to be put on display.
Carroll Williford started a facebook page for their home a few years ago and said that's when people really started noticing. Their most popular night?
"We're debating that. Maybe 5,000 people. We had police here this year helping us," said Dalton.
Many of those people try to give the Willifords donations to help them with their electricity since the light display consists mainly of incandescent bulbs and not LEDs. However, the Willifords decline those, opting instead to take donations for the Portsmouth Humane Society after a friend of theirs suggested the idea. Last year, the light display raised more than $7,000.
"Last year the shelter pipes burst. So some of the money Dalton and Carroll collected went toward the plumbing and they completed a dog run," said Darlene McKernan.
The Willifords have a donation box set up for monetary donations and a bucket for any pet food or items people would like to donate.
Dalton said he will start taking the lights down Dec. 31. Until then, they will be on every night.