North 17th Street residence in Copperas Cove brims with Christmas cheer
By PAMELA GRANT
Stepping through the lighted walkway at 503 North 17th St. in Copperas Cove takes you on the path to a Christmas wonderland. A pair of animatronic Christmas bears greet you with a hugging motion followed by handcrafted cutout Christmas creations, inflatables, thousands of lights, and dozens of lit up decorations.
Several themed areas include one dedicated to the military, another to Texas, and a section with dozens of reindeer. After making your way up the lengthy driveway, you are treated to the sight of a tiny Christmas village complete with model train.
Every night, from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., house owner Richard Holt has invited the public to park outside and make their way up the driveway to check out all of the Christmas goodies.
Saturday night was even more special to visitors who were welcomed with a special visit from Santa Claus himself from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. and again on Monday night at the same time.
Holt said that if he gets enough interest on Facebook, he might be able to invite Santa Claus to make another appearance on Christmas Eve.
“You can’t appreciate this from the road…so we just put the sign out there. Just walk down and enjoy it. I like lights, and I think most people do,” said Holt. “For me, it’s part of being in the Christmas spirit…It’s kind of a family tradition.”
Holt said that he started decorating in either 1986 or 1987 while he and his family were living in Hawaii. He said that every year since moving to North 17th Street about eight years ago, Holt and his family have decorated their house in spectacular Christmas fashion and invited the community out to see the displays.
“I like to go around and see Christmas lights and different displays,” said Holt. “I take inspiration from things that I’ve seen on tv, other displays, and some of it is ideas that just pop into our heads…Every year, I try to be a little more creative.”
His daughters love Care Bears, so Holt said that those cutouts were the first of his Christmas decorations, and each year, he adds more to his collection. He added that he has a trailer full of decorations that were not used this year.
New to his collection this year, Holt has expanded his Texas area, added more reindeer, and added a dog wrapped up in Christmas lights. He also has a very impressive walkway with 4,000 lights which took about ten hours to put up.
“That was a labor of love,” said Holt.
“You know what, it is absolutely beautiful. You see a lot of streetlights, but you don’t see a lot where you can actually walk through it,” said Paula Hamilton, who came to look at the lights with her husband, Ron. “It was very impressive. I liked all of it. This is just absolutely mind boggling.”
Mindy Teske and her husband brought their three children, Shyanne (9), Bryan (6), and Ian (13) to see the Christmas lights and to meet Santa on Saturday.
“It’s awesome,” said Mindy Teske. “It’s amazing that you can do it with the family.”
The children ran from side to side of the driveway, exclaiming in delight as they checked out the decorations. “Look, look!” they shouted, pointing from one display to another. “Mommy, look at this one!”
“It’s Santa!!!” Bryan shouted when he finally caught sight of Santa, running up to him. “Santa is the best ever!”
“We love it all!” exclaimed Shyanne when asked what her favorite thing was.
“I think it’s amazing how he’s willing to dedicate his time to the community like this,” said Clarissa Balle who came to look at the lights with her niece and two children. “I love those dinosaurs, the little walkway was neat, but this is probably the best Christmas village I have ever seen. And it’s free…We’re very blessed to have him around.”