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