It wouldn't seem like Christmas if there were no houses decorated with Christmas lights. On every street there are at least a few houses illuminated with lights, and it definitely adds to the Christmas spirit. One man in Southington goes above and beyond every year to spread Christmas cheer through his extravagant display.
Let's just say that Clark Griswold, the main character in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," has nothing on Alan Tura.
Tura is a man of many trades, but he's definitely a man who likes to entertain. He's been a monster truck driver for nearly 30 years. During the fall months, Tura builds Halloween props that he sells.
"I like to entertain people," said Tura, "That's why I want people to come and see my lights."
Tura's love for building enormous Christmas displays began when he owned the Christmas light display that went on every year at the Canfield Fairgrounds. He would spend 18 hours a day putting up and watching the Christmas lights at the fairgrounds, even sleeping most nights on site in order to best maximize his time spent. Since there is no longer a light display at the fairgrounds, Tura decided to turn his own front yard into a Christmas wonderland.
Tura welcomes anybody who would like to come enjoy the scene. He lives off U.S. Route 422 south of the Ohio State Highway patrol post at 2030 Barclay Messerly Road in Southington.
"I don't build the thing every year for no one to see it. It's just a shame there isn't much traffic out this way because I want people to come see the lights," said Tura.
Tura also takes great pride in his indoor decorations as well, with a huge upside down Christmas tree in his living room accompanied by three palm trees that he purchased when Kahunaville went out of business.
The lights takes a total of four days for Tura and a few friends to put up. He says it's a lot of work but worth it when its done. His decorations include lighted red poinsettias, two giant candles illuminated in white light, and dozens of trees lit in red, white and blue. Tura decided to go with a patriotic theme this year in light of the recent presidential election.
The entire display is about 200 square feet this year, but Tura has major plans to expand further toward the road in the upcoming years. He already has more props that he isn't using this year but anticipates using next year, including a sleigh and reindeer.
A display as large as Tura's takes a lot of electricity. There are nine different circuits powering the display. Tura takes a major hit to the wallet when it's time to pay the electric bill - last year the bill for December was close to $500. This year, Tura has installed sensors that are triggered when cars pass his neighbor's house that turn on most of the lights to save as much as he can on costs. But he's willing and even happy to pay the money when he thinks about the people who slow down and drive down his driveway to get a better look at his lights. Tura said his neighbors especially love his Christmas display and let him spill a little cheer over in their property when needed.
"I don't know why I blow my money with the economy the way it is," said Tura. "I'm just going to tough it out because there are people that come out every year just to see it. I want even more people to come in the future when I expand."
For anybody that wishes to follow in Tura's footsteps and expand their outdoor Christmas decorations, his best advice for buying lights is to buy a year early when they go on sale the day after Christmas. Every year, Tura buys out Walmart's Christmas lights when they go on clearance the day after Christmas.