LAGRANGEVILLE, N.Y. - They earned the Guiness Book of World Records title for 'Most lights on a Residential Property' in 2014, and their ERDAJT display - that started in 1995 with just 600 lights - has now become an attraction people travel great distances to view, and is known around the world.
But the best part for Tim Gay, who started it all for his kids, is the money that's been earned for area children's charities. The display does not charge admission - but they do ask for donations, which are all donated.
"That's really one of my favorite things," Gay told Daily Voice. "By the end of next weekend, we will pass a quarter-million dollars that we've raised for charities in this area in the past five years."
Most of the fundraising is done by the Union Vale Fire Dept. (which then distributes to other charities and families in need), and Gay has special nights where other charities come in - all children's charities - including the Children's Home in Poughkeepsie, and Dutchess County cancer organizations that help children.
Gay started his incredible show "to make the holiday more magical for the kids."
Today, the display known as ERDAJT (his three kids' initials) has grown into a full-blown event.
"We're up to 520,000 lights, eight miles of extension cords, 40 miles of wiring, with 244 songs choreographed to the display," Gay said.
How long will Gay and his family continue with their labor of love?
"It's really not up to me, it's up to my kids," Gay said. "They're all in college now, if they want to stop, we'll stop. I always said when they were done and moved on it would be over, but they don't want it to end.
"I never had any intent to make it big," Gay added. "It was just an expression of love for my children. Everything that came after has been great, because of what it's done for the community in terms of helping charities. And it brings a lot of joy to people."
Watch the video to see the display, and hear comments from Gay about the charities it's helped.
The display will be open until Wednesday, Dec. 28. For more info and directions to the display, click here.
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