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O Holy Lights

Greg Blaugh hasn’t had a silent night in months. This is mostly due to his house and yard, where he has approximately 34,260 lights blinking in tandem with a sound system blaring holiday music.

The 51-year-old owner of GTS Transmission in Columbus chose to deck the halls… and the shed and the trees and the mailbox with what he thinks must be the biggest holiday light display in the county.
“I’ve driven around and haven’t seen anyone with the kind of display I’ve got up,” he said.

Blaugh, who resides at 2575 Ridge Road, said he goes big for the holidays because “when I was a kid, my family didn’t have the funds to do any of this stuff. Now I have the funds, so I want to give back a little of what I didn’t have as a child.”

 And people are flocking to see it. “People have come from Amory, Starkville and some people were visiting from Birmingham came by to check it out,” he said. “There’s a lot to see of it. We were sitting outside until about 9:30 p.m. on Saturday night. People passing by were stopping in both directions to drive past slow. It’s the only time I get to see slow traffic.”The display took over five weeks of work. Blaugh started shortly after Halloween, and the design you can see now is actually the second Blaugh put up this year. “There was a football theme with a 35 foot flag made of lights on the roof and a football field. It was going to be reindeers vs. reindeers. But it was too much, too compressed. There were over 4,000 lights on the ground and about the same amount on the roof. The flag took up the whole side of my roof. It was a huge bummer.”

But Blaugh decided to rip it all up and start fresh anyway. “It involved a lot of cutting zip ties that were holding things down, a lot of extension cords to reroute… bummer.”

But he’s very pleased with his current design, featuring 6-10 foot stars that take up most of the front yard, lighted deer grazing and flying, a Santa climbing a ladder up to the roof, a giant penguin, and more.

The visual display also rotates to the tempo of 40 Christmas songs that play on a loop. Blaugh said that he couldn’t have all the lights on at the same time or he would start blowing fuses. The music belts through a 300 Watt Stereo PA system programmed to one of a medley of controllers. Part of the yard even runs off a wireless receiver system.

The whole thing is powered by two generators and still pulls 11,000 Watts from Blaugh’s house and the lights are connected using over 1400 feet of extension cords.

This is Blaugh’s second year to put up a large light display, if you meet him he’ll surely tell you of last year’s design – a mere 18,000 lights featuring a giant bow on his roof made, of course, from lights.
“(GTS Transmission) is my livelihood, but my passion is Christmas lights,” he said. “It’s my passion all year long. If you talk to me during the year it will come up.”

Blaugh was raised in Michigan and moved to Columbus in late 2009. He took ownership of GTS in late 2010 and started doing light displays the following year. He shows no signs of stopping now either.

“I’m already planning my next year’s stuff,” he said. When asked for a hint as to what he might do in 2013, he replied simply “Extreme.”

“I’ll probably double what I have now. Picture this. Pole in the middle of the yard, maybe 20 feet tall and four corner poles, all connected with lights. It will look like my yard is spinning and you’ll probably be able to see it from outer space.”

Blaugh says he is disappointed when he drives around about how few people put up holiday lights and hopes to inspire others to decorate their homes for the holidays. “I’ve already seen more people put up lights this year than last, and Walmart and Lowes are both out of lights. I hope I’ve had an impact on how people are feeling about decorating.”


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