Christmas Lights: Joy to the World, as Seen from Above

MICHAEL MYERS/Courtesy

MICHAEL MYERS/Courtesy

KINGMAN - On any given night during the holiday season, as you look over the valley coming into Kingman it'll be hard to not notice the pulsating lights emanating from the Riata Valley area.

That's David Preston's house, and his Christmas lights display on 661 Shadow Mountain Drive is one of the hot Christmas attractions in Kingman.

Most nights, a line of cars stretch along his street as they come to see his house, as well as Bruce and Barbara Ricca's Christmas display, which sits right next door. Both have kept up the tradition of adorning their yards with thousands of Christmas lights for years.

"We moved into this house in 1987, and my wife noticed we had hangings for lights on our house," said Preston. "We saw the Riccas' display next door and thought we needed to decorate as well."

Preston, who said that he was "a bit of a Scrooge" before moving to the house on Shadow Mountain, slowly but surely expanded his Christmas light decorations over the years. When he retired from Preston Investments, he took on the lights as his hobby.

The display now has over 150,000 lights and features a spiral Christmas tree, a "Mega" Christmas tree, a 60-foot Nativity scene, and an extensive computer network that times all the lights to music that's broadcasting on 91.7 FM.

Right next door, the Riccas have been putting up their display for years. Bruce, who grew up in Kingman, has been putting up lights ever since junior high school.

"We've always had a big display," said Bruce Ricca. "We add and change it every year if we can. A lot of the stuff, I started cutting up wood and painting it. Now we cut metal and weld lights into designs."

The highlights include Darth Vader and Stormtrooper displays, which the Ricca family made on their own.

It's a family affair for the Riccas. Their son-in-law and grandkids help assemble the lights starting in early November, and they tinker with them throughout the holiday season.

Both Preston and Ricca insist that they don't compete, and that they're in it for their own enjoyment.

"We enjoy it, and we get the gratification from people saying how much they enjoy it," said Ricca. "During the summertime, someone will come up to us and say that they love our lights. The churches call and ask about when we will turn them on. People come back over and over again to take pictures.

"We do a good job. It's for the kids, but I guarantee you the adults enjoy it," said Ricca.

"It takes a lot of time, work and effort," said Preston. "But when I found out how many people enjoyed it, I feel better about it. I can hear the comments as they drive by, and people thank us with emails and cards. This was a way for us to give back to the community that had us as a business owner throughout the years."

Kingman displays

Both displays turn on the lights at dusk and run them until around 10 p.m.

To get to the houses, take Stockton Hill Road up to Gordon and turn toward the mountain. Take a right on Shadow Crest Road, left on Canyon Hills Drive, and then right on Shadow Mountain Drive.

For David Preston's display, the lights are synced to a six-minute loop of music.

People can listen in as they drive by on 91.7 FM.

Know of some Christmas displays in your neighborhood? Send photos or locations to life@kdminer.com.

In Golden Valley

The Golden Valley Christmas display is of 98 blowups, 75,000 lights and a bunch of other cool-looking holiday items.

People who would like to visit the display at 2225 S. Dome Road in Golden Valley can do so by turning south on Egar Road (Mile Marker 17) from Highway 68 and driving about four and a half miles. Turn right on Tapeats Drive (if you arrive at Shinarump Drive, you've gone a half-mile too far). Head west for about one half mile and you can't miss the display at the corner of Tapeats and Dome.

According to Chris Marie and her husband, Butch Meriwether, the display will be up and running each night for at least four hours after sundown and they plan on keeping the display up until Jan. 2.

Those who visit the Christmas display are invited to donate a bag of dog or cat food for the no-kill animal shelter and sanctuary For The Luv of Paws, and/or donate a new unwrapped toy to be turned over to the Marine Corps League Detachment No. 887 for the Toys for Tots program for local needy children.