When Australian lawyer David Richards started decorating his family home for Christmas four years ago, little did he know that the simple pastime would snowball into a huge passion. The father-of-three is now a self-proclaimed ‘crazy Christmas lights guy’.
Impressed with the display of lights at his home last year, Richards was invited to transform Petrie Plaza in Canberra’s Central Business District into an epic Christmas spectacle this year. And Richards has not disappointed – this year’s display consists of a whopping 120 kilometers of lights and over one million light bulbs. Petrie Plaza now features a 3-D image constructed of lights, covering more than 41,000 square feet, in the shape of three large Christmas presents.
The spectacular display has won Richards a place in the Guinness Book for the third time. He won the record last year when he decorated his home with 502,165 lights, and once before in 2011. “Christmas lights really get people into the festive spirit,” Richards told Guinness. “We decorated our home for years, and people came from everywhere to see our lights. This year, who knows how many people will come along?”
“We had 12,000 people walking down my driveway on Christmas Eve last year,” he added. “There were queues of hundreds and hundreds of people. But this year, I’ve more than doubled the number of lights – it’s far, far bigger.” He also revealed that he goes through the painstaking effort every year in order to raise funds for the SIDS and Kids charity.
“My family had a tragedy in 2002 when we lost our one-month-old son Thomas,” he explained. “SIDS and Kids helped us so much, so this is our way of giving back to them.” The family managed to raise $138,000 last year by asking for a gold coin donation when people visited their light display. “I am the crazy Christmas lights guy just because I tried to raise money for SIDS and Kids.”
Richards has been working on this year’s display for the past nine months – he called on lighting architects, electrical engineers, civil engineers, and designers to make it happen. Construction began in October – 22 tons of steel were used to create towering structures that support the 120 kilometers of light. 200,000 visitors are expected to walk through the twinkling display.
The SIDS and Kids ACT Christmas Lights show is currently open for visitors and will continue until New Year’s Eve. Entry is by gold coin donation. You could find out about the event on: inthecitycanberra.com.au.
Photos: Guinness World Records
via ABC News