Holiday Lights Contest: Editor's Choice in Lake County

  • 2021 Daily Herald Lake County Holiday Lights Editor's Choice award winner Adam Barr with his family at his home in Volo. Barr has lighted arches over the sidewalk in front of his home.

    2021 Daily Herald Lake County Holiday Lights Editor's Choice award winner Adam Barr with his family at his home in Volo. Barr has lighted arches over the sidewalk in front of his home. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Adam Barr's home at 571 Valmont Lane in Volo. He incorporates snowflakes on the roof, as well as a lighted, moving reindeer on the peak.

    Adam Barr's home at 571 Valmont Lane in Volo. He incorporates snowflakes on the roof, as well as a lighted, moving reindeer on the peak. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Adam Barr's favorite decoration is a vintage, lighted, plastic blow mold of Frosty the Snowman that he found in his father's attic.

    Adam Barr's favorite decoration is a vintage, lighted, plastic blow mold of Frosty the Snowman that he found in his father's attic. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • The moving Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on the roof peak of Adam Barr's home in Volo.

    The moving Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on the roof peak of Adam Barr's home in Volo. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Adam Barr wrapped the sidewalk arches with evergreens and gave each tree its own color.

    Adam Barr wrapped the sidewalk arches with evergreens and gave each tree its own color. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
Daily Herald report
Posted12/22/2021 5:30 AM

Adam Barr has won the 2021 Daily Herald Editor's Choice award for his holiday decorations in Lake County. His home is at 571 Valmont Lane in Volo.

Q: How long have you been decorating your house like this?

 

A: "Not too long, actually. We moved in in 2012 and used to be normal by just putting a few strands on the house and a snowman in the yard. As our family grew, we added a little more year over year, but really expanded in 2016.

Q: What inspired you to go all out with your decorations?

A: I suppose my dad. He and grandmother passed away back in 2016, the year the Cubs finally won the World Series. Both of them were lifelong, die-hard Cubs fans who had been waiting their entire lifetime to see them finally win it all. Neither of them got a chance to see it. My dad was close though, passing away right before the start of the postseason.

So, as they started to get a few wins in the playoffs I decided to "fly the W" (in lights) on the roof rather than just a flag, so he could see it. The World Series ended in early November, but I wasn't ready to take it down, so I tried to find a way to blend it into the Christmas display that year.

It was a big hit. From then on we've been trying to get more creative and give the neighborhood a better display each year.

Q: How many hours does it take to put up the display?

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A: I lose count. We try to do something a little different each year, so I'll spend a lot of time throughout the season just tweaking it. It's quite a bit of work, but well worth it with so many kids that live in the neighborhoods nearby.

We get to see families drive by and let their kids get out and run through the arches. Some stop and take family pictures with the display as a backdrop. A couple have left us little notes ... so it's a very rewarding investment in time, and hopefully creating lifelong memories for our four kids.

Q: How many strings of lights are involved?

A: If we're talking about individual bulbs we're at just about 13,500. Including 65 blow molds, 13 snowflakes, a couple wreaths and a giant Rudolph perched on the roof overlooking it all.

Q: How much does your electric bill spike in December?

A: LEDs are a lifesaver. Once we transitioned from incandescent to all LED, it's really not that different from our typical energy bill for AC in the summer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Q: What do your neighbors think of your display?

A: Those that comment or drive by are very supportive and complimentary.

And we've had a strong turnout for kids sending their Santa letters to the North Pole along with the toy donation chimney for Advocate Children's Hospital.

Everyone else? Well, no one has called the cops or HOA on us yet, so I'll take it!

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