Christmas Light display grows as do the crowds.

I was happy to find this guy still around and doing what he has been doing for the past 21 years. When I was down in the Palm Springs court complex I would make it a point to pay a visit to this young mans display. I was never disappointed by his efforts that he started when he was 13 years old. He started off with a few hundred lights on a few trees and by the time I last saw his place in December 1998, it had now grown to over 2 million lights on a 4 acre property.

 

Kenny Irwin is his name and puts people who grumble about putting up a few lights, to shame. Irwin, a 33-year-old Palm Springs native, is in the midst of his 21st Christmas Spectacular. Irwin's display, covering his family's property in the Movie Colony, includes walkways that take visitors past various villages conceived and constructed by Irwin. There's an Elf Village, a Gingerbread Village and even a psychedelic Christmas area, where visitors can interact with Tesla generators that produce harmless lightning bolts when someone touches the generator's glass globe.

And what would Christmas be without robots? Irwin, who has been constructing robots as long as he can remember, has more than 200 of his creations integrated into the display. his hobby long ago turned into a passion. Irwin says that he began to have ideas about Christmas robots when he was about 5 and by the time he was 10 he was designing them.

The largest of his robot creations is 68 feet tall and is that of a moving Santa Clause. He has hundreds of robots all living as he says on a one acre section that he calls his City of Robots. Not all of them are Christmas themed, but the centerpiece of this giant display is a larger than life 68 foot tall Santa robot, driving his sleigh, which is being pulled by Santa's larger than life robot reindeer.

And another thing, all of Irwin's robots are made from materials he picks up at the Palm Springs Junk Yard and land fill, something that he particular proud of. Even his neighbors get into the act, providing building materials and other plastics and metals that they were going to throw away just for his ever expanding Christmas Light Display.

And even though he does not charge for people attending his light display, he has volunteers with baskets asking for $5 donations, mainly just to pay his whopping extra high electric bill.

For those who find the rough edges of found-metal robots not to their liking, there are the softer, rounder forms of inflatable Christmas figures of every description. A small army of 112 inflatable Santa's dot the property, overseen by a 50-foot inflatable Santa on top of the family home. That imposing figure is flanked by a group of 20-foot snowmen.

And this year Irwin is adding some real life action to his display. He hopes to have a Santa and Mrs Clause waving and handing out candy to the kids who stop by with their parents.

If you live in the Palm Springs area his giant Christmas Light display can be found at 1077 Granvia Valmonte, One block north of Alejo Road, and one block east of Caballeros. If you are coming from the Inland Empire come out the 10 freeway exit either on Highway 111 or Indian Ave and head south into town. As you head into town look for Taramisk and turn left off of either south bound street. It will be on the North side of town.

I hope you enjoy the show. I know I did and as I wrote before, I am happy to see that he is still doing his thing and making it bigger as each year goes by.

Gary Hall, the ghostpainter

 

Comments

This guy does a great job with the lights! We've taken the family to see them a few times over the last few years and every time we are delighted.
Thank you for this post to remind me!

I have to say I was a bit ummm disappointed and somewhat startled by the display overall. It was like something out of a sci-fi, horror film about Christmas. While the robot theme was perhaps ok in itself, and the junk-bots have a certain artistic quality to them, I found the skulls adorning some of them, including one of Santa's reindeer to be a bit garish.

True, the effort overall is apparent in terms of the vast amount of light simply in quantity alone. There are robots that have moving parts, smoke, lights and other interesting features. I admire simply the size of some of them, not to mention the sheer number of them. Perhaps in another setting, or another season, I'd have really enjoyed them as art. However, the display may be more appropriate for a Halloween-themed event, rather than Christmas.

This is not to say that we did not overhear many compliments from others as we walked through the property. We did. Yet, I feel that families seeking a traditional type display may be disappointed at the least, and for those with young children, the skulls, bones, cyclop eyes, and other odd features of the display may be frightening, or at the very least, puzzling.

To be clear, my intent is not to disaude anyone from viewing this effort. Rather, I'm attempting to offer a more clear description and impression of what you will see if you go there. Though the description I read above did discuss the many robots, etc, I felt it did not convey more plainly the overall feel of the display.

If you and your family are seeking something unusual, artistic, and different from the norm, you may very well enjoy the efforts of the artist's work. If your intent is to enjoy a traditional, and especially a religiously themed display, this is likely not the trip you want to make. The vibe is not very joyous, nor is it very cheery.

I hope this helps those seeking to decide where to spend some time this holiday season based upon your interests, taste and intent. For us, it was not worth the trip.

Merry Christmas to all.

xmas is not the same for everyone thank goodness....instead of looking for traditional (boring) displays, which seem to involve how many lights and giant blow-ups from home depot or target that have no soul or creativity....kenny has taken a so-called "tradition" (who's anyways????) and gave us his vision...children should experience this display for at least a chance to learn that there are many more visions of the holidays than the corporate/commercial/christian/ views shoved down their throat every year.....don't shelter your children, you'll only stunt their mental growth...unless you want them to turn into robots like the display.........

Thanks for your comment, its more realistic and very objective

Thoroughly enjoyed the display for 4 or 5 years and hugely dsappointed when it was "put on the back shelf". Am thrilled it is open again and am already planning who I will take, and when, to this truly eclectic exhibition.
No, it is isn't traditional, but you must admire and respect the genius behind the lights and creations, and just enjoy. Your children will love you for it.
Hooray - Robolights is back!

Woohoo....I'm there! I was blown away by it when I saw it in 2007!

The artist must be huffing some good paint fumes!

What time is it over?

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