From the Editors
“Is your house on fire, Clark?”
“No, Aunty Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.”
George and Dixie Schoonover of Mahomet have once again decked out their home this holiday season with a lighting display that would make Clark Griswold turn green with Christmas envy.
Fore more than three decades, the Schoonovers have been lighting up their residence at 701 N. Timberview Drive with such gusto, they have come to be known as The Clark Griswold House. Anyone who has seen it would agree the name fits- their home is simply a sight to see at Christmas time!
Lights cover the house, hand-made wood and metal displays adorn the yard, and even the two-story Evergreen trees surrounding their home are wrapped from top to bottom with strands of lights. Drivers passing by can also enjoy the musical talents of the Chipmunks singing in the front yard.
The display started on Sunday, Dec. 7 and will continue every night through December. We recently got the chance to talk to George Schoonover (aka Clark Griswold) and learned some of the secrets behind his spectacular lights display.
How did it all get started? It all began about 34 years ago with just putting lights around some bushes and the light pole.
What does your display include (besides more than 100,000 lights)? The first wood display was a three-car train. From there we began creating more wood displays and moved toward creating a “Santa village.” The chipmunks made their debut about 27 years ago. Alvin has been kidnapped only once and the entire town was out hunting for him. The wood Toy Shop went up in 1996. About 15 years ago we began changing some of the wood displays to the metal light displays which made things a little brighter.
Who puts up the display? The entire family, including the grandchildren help. One very special friend, Neil Bateman, has dedicated the past five years in coming and helping. Been many times we thought we might not make the deadline if Neil had not helped out.
What’s the biggest challenge? The biggest job is the huge evergreen trees! We have to rent a bucket truck in order to get the lights to the tops of these gorgeous trees.
Why do you keep doing it? Because of all the kids and adults that stop and say thank you. We have had many visitors come to the door just to say thank you.
Who would win in a light display competition? You or Clark Griswold? YOU decide.
What’s your day job: Our family business is Schoonover Sewer Service and we have had this business since 1985.
How much is your power bill? Our power bill runs approximately $400-$500 for the month. We changed over to a lot of LED lights this year so we are anxious to see how that will affect the power bill.