It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - on Hayden Avenue in Tiverton, at least.
Using more than 9,200 LED lights, the St. Onge family of 84 Hayden Ave. have made their annual light display and charity drive bigger and bolder than ever before. The display will stay plugged in on Monday - Thursday from 5 - 9 p.m. and on weekends from 5 - 10 p.m. through Jan. 6.
The flashing light display and images of Santa Claus, reindeer and gingerbread houses bring hundreds of spectators to the dead-end Hayden Avenue at this time of year to revel in the holiday spirit of the St. Onge family home. Besides the festive light show, Colleen and Larry St. Onge are accepting monetary and nonperishable food donations.
A bin placed by the center walkway through the glittering LED forest collects nonperishable food items for the East Bay Community Action Program food pantry on Stafford Road. A box next to it accepts cash donations that will be split evenly between the food pantry and the Make A Wish Foundation.
"We are happy to see the whole scope of this that it is making people happy and helping," said Colleen. "One of our biggest goals is to inspire other people."
Reaching out and helping others is the St. Onge family motto. Colleen lives with Multiple Sclerosis, but she doesn't let that stop her from organizing large parties for her family or from decorating her yard for her favorite holiday of the year. Outside her routine, Colleen volunteers her time as a literacy volunteer in Newport and donates regularly to Hasbro.
"I just don't think that people always get that even if you are giving a little bit, when it's from a lot of people it is really powerful," said Colleen.
This year, computerized lighting technology syncs the St. Onge's display with some of your favorite tunes such as "Carol of the Bells," "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer," "The Polar Express," and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town."
Onlookers can tune into 90.1 FM radio to listen to the 20-minute show.
While more and more family's seem to be keeping the outdoor holiday decor packed away in boxes, the St. Onge's display grows larger each year.
"Family is one of our important ideas as well - the charities are very important as well, but here people have some place to go together," said Colleen. "I remember being with my parents as a little girl and driving around to look at things like this. You don't see as much of that anymore."
The St. Onge's encourage children to walk through the maze of lights and ornaments and grab a candy cane.
Colleen said LED technology and donations from the Fall River Staples, Home Depot stores located in North Dartmouth, Middletown and Somerset make it possible to keep the display plugged in and looking good.
Last year it cost about $2.40 a day to keep 5,500 lights running from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day. But more than $400 in donations to the food pantry made it worth it.
"We are just an average family trying to get by ourselves," said Colleen. "We have already invested about $1,000 this year so we are very grateful to the companies that helped make this possible. No one person can do it alone."