THE OVER-THE-TOP CHRISTMAS LIGHT TOUR 2020
If ever there was a year to take a tour of outdoor lights and live nativities, 2020 is it!! Now if you are looking for tasteful and simple, you’ll have to look elsewhere. I am talking the bigger, gaudier and brighter, the better: So for your tour…. first, load up the car with blankets and Christmas cookies and a flashlight for the kids to read this email! Go thru a drive thru to get hot cocoa…and you’re off!
Gingerbread Lane, The 700 block of SE Richland Court. It is a horseshoe shaped street and each house has a piece of the gingerbread story in their front yard! Every weekend, Santa & Mrs. Claus will be collecting canned goods for the Food Bank of Iowa. All 31 houses on the street participate! Visit their Facebook page for schedule updates and more information.
Across SE 8th St. directly to the south is SE Rio Circle. That cul-de-sac has the story of Frosty the Snowman. These are fabulous, completely redone in 2015, kids dressed as elves on weekends, more lights than ever, so worth the drive to Ankeny! Many others in the area have also added more lights to their own displays!
The Ridge Church, 825 NW 36th St., Ankeny – Stop by The Ridge parking lot any time between December 4 and Jan 2 from 5:30 PM to 10:00 PM to watch our first annual synchronized Christmas light show.
417 SE Lawrence-set to music.
800 block of SE Michael Dr.
705 NE Canterbury-set to music.
1502 NE Trilein-tons of inflatables.
Polk City Dr and NW Weigel (Karl Moyer’s)
And of course, Jolly Holiday Lights at Adventureland! This is a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish. Buy tickets online. $20/car. This year they are honoring Hollister Farrell’s memory!
Ivy Centennial United Methodist Church has its annual Live Nativity Sat. Dec. 5 from 6-8 pm. 9150 University Ave. just past SE Polk High School on the opposite side of University.
Windsor Circle in the Copper Creek neighborhood of Pleasant Hill has a house with lights set to music. You can tune in on your radio!
THE BIG HOUSE AT 4840 NW BEAVER DRIVE (THE INTERSECTION OF LOWER BEAVER AND BEAVER ROADS, JUST BEFORE YOU CROSS I-80): It is right where Beaver crosses I-80, on the south side before you go over the bridge. He adds more and more lights every year. It is over the top!!! This year is incredible!!!
ASHBY NEIGHBORHOOD IN BEAVERDALE: Ashby Avenue to the East off Beaver Ave. …this is what is called Candy Cane Lane. On Christmas Eve, Santa passes out candy canes…at least he used to. In 2015, he is there on weekend nights. Veer to the right and go around in a big circle (Wallace Lane back around to Ashby)…Continue West on Ashby and you should end up back on Beaver. Then, shoot across Beaver (you sort of have to jog to the right a little to catch Ashby on the other side of Beaver). This side of Ashby has really gotten lit up too over the past few years. Take Ashby West the full length of the street, it dead ends at 44th, turn left (south).
Beaverdale is having a lighting display contest in 2020. Check it out here: They have a map with all of the participating houses!
CHURCH OF THE OPEN BIBLE IN BEAVERDALE: The Open Bible Church on the corner of Hickman and Beaver Ave. has a huge display. In 2015 they have set it to music for the first time. Tune in to the radio station listed on the signs. Just south of the church on the corner of Beaver and Franklin, Westminster Presbyterian Church sometimes has luminaries.
2809 – 45th St. on the corner with New York – WOW!!! My favorite kind of house…really over the top!!!! Be sure to go around the corner and take a look at the Abominable Snowman in the backyard….it is HUGE!! Evidently they also decorate for the 4th of July, Halloween and other holidays! As long as you are here, take a look at 2835 – 45th. Not completely over the top but worth a look!
2609 Boston Ave Des Moines- the Nativity story spread out across our entire yard.
WEST SIDE OF DES MOINES AND URBANDALE, CLIVE, WINDSOR HEIGHTS–
Santa’s Rock N Lights- Living History Farms $25 car. Lots of flashing lights. I got motion sickness. I haven’t gotten motion sickness since the 1980’s! The cars go soooooo slowly that you are amidst the flashing lights for prolonged periods. The light display itself is very good!
South of Hickman Road, Franklin Avenue, Marylynn Drive and 72nd Street – About 120 homes participate in Windsor Heights Foundation’s annual holiday lighting contest each year. You will not want to miss this neighborhood all lit up for the Holiday season.
3499 Berkshire Pkwy. Clive. North off Douglas Pkwy, east of Alice’s Road, pretty far west. Huge display with tons of inflatables. They are doing a Toys for Tots drive this Sat, the 5th from 6-8 and you can wave at Santa and Mrs. Claus from your car.
WEST DES MOINES –
Ashworth Road Baptist Church’s, 5300 Ashworth Road Celebration of Lights is a dancing light show with over 15,000 lights dancing in an animated fashion set to music.
57th St. just off Colt, south of Ashworth. My scout says they lit up this cul-de-sac again this year. Evidently it is a tradition for over 30 years!
Historic Valley Junction – over 100,000 lights!!!
37th and Ashworth- south side on the corner…..lots of lights!! 23,516 lights including 168 strobe lights and Santa and 9 reindeer flying above the backyard. Also note the FRAGILE lamp in the window!!! Nice touch!!! Later this month there will be a food drive for a local food pantry.
South 50th Place just off 50th to the west. Go south of Mills Parkway on 50th. Take the first left onto S. 50th Place. Go about ½ block on your left is an overdone house….you can’t miss it!!!
Dec. 21-24, 5-9 pm. Come to Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, 925 Jordan Creek Parkway, for an unforgettable JOURNEY to the LIGHT — a can’t-miss, one-of-a-kind Christmas drive-thru experience! As you embark on this spectacular journey through Hope’s parking lot, you’ll be invited to roll down your windows, turn up the heat, and enjoy the journey! Interactive kid’s activities are available and will be handed out as cars with children enter the parking lot (bring some crayons!) … but this isn’t just for kids. From your car, you’ll encounter all of Hope’s best Christmas worship traditions, and you’ll experience the Christmas story in brand-new ways — dazzling light shows, live Christmas music featuring Jon Mero and our talented Worship Band, and a cast of hundreds living out the story of the Messiah’s birth, from Old Testament prophets to radiant angels, to the shepherds and the sheep … and of course your pathway thru the parking lot leads to a living manger scene and a glimpse of heaven! The entire event is FREE and all are welcome! Come and see!
WAUKEE – corner of 8th and Cherry!! Cousin Eddie is back!! Complete with the blown out saucer and motorhome, Cousin Eddie is cleaning out the $hi++er!!
Fellowship Community Church in Norwalk: 225 North Avenue, Norwalk. Synchronized Lights & Live Nativity event from 5:30 pm-8:30 pm on Saturday, December 12th and on Sunday, December 13th. The church property will be covered in 70,000+ LED lights synchronized to Christmas music. A live nativity with real animals will also be a part of the event. Take in the sights and sounds of this event from the comfort of your vehicle…free cookies & hot chocolate will be brought to you! This is a FREE event; however donations will be accepted and will be used to assist local families in need. Here is a You Tube from 2017
BONUS ROAD TRIPS:
1233 E Ave., Red Oak, Iowa 2 hour drive HUGE display for many, many years! The lights will turn on at dark every night beginning December 12th and will turn off every night at 10pm. The lights will be on through New Years night. They have a Facebook page
Ames- Reiman Gardens Winter Wonderscape on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, December 3 – January 2, 5:00 p.m. to last ticket sold at 8:30p.m., featuring a variety of immersive light displays throughout the entire 17-acre site. Walk through brightly lit tunnels, meander through fantasy lights falling like stars, view massive disco balls twirling to laser lights, enjoy a 20’ wide fountain and a wide array of other sparkling wonders. The kids will enjoy lighted sculptural forms including Peter Rabbit in the Edible Garden, the metamorphosis of the luna moth, penguins cavorting around the lake on skis, sleds and ice skates and the Campaniling kissing polar bears. Pre-purchased tickets ($10/adult, $5/child) are highly encouraged.
Newton – free drive thru of lights displayed at Agnes Patterson Park. It opens at 6 pm each evening and goes through Jan. 1st. This website has a map.
Slater – according to a scout: on the main north/south road through town (becomes South Dakota Ave in Ames) there’s a house with I think 50 Christmas inflatables that is awesome! The town itself also has a HUGE tree and festival.
Polk City – the town square is pretty amazing.
Knoxville – Merry-n-County drive through lighted display in Marion County Park. Weekends only see article for details. Free will donation.
They also have a Facebook page.
Pleasantville – a drive through display at Cora Shadle park on Dec. 4-5 and 11-12. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there on the 12th.
Hope you enjoyed the tour! If you find that I have left off a really good one, let me know….I will revise it and send it out again next year!!!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to each and every one of you!!!