Westerville man shares the holiday spirit

December 25, 2013 by  

As usual, Rick Hilyard has strung up approximately 60,000 of them at his home this holiday season. The Westerville resident is sometimes known as ‘Clark Griswald’, after the character in the Christmas Vacation film, due to his fondness for Christmas lights

Hilyard’s fascination with lights began years ago, when he was a child. He heard about brothers in Columbus who were fighting to have the best displays in the city and decided maybe he could make people happy by hanging his own lights. He hung about 15,000 lights his first year, and has been increasing the number ever since.

Hilyard begins by building structures such as arches or towers, and then wrapping them with strings of lights. He chooses music and then synchronizes the lights to the music, with the help of a computer, as well as family members. He starts planning the season’s display soon after the previous one ends, usually in February or March.

However, Hilyard’s display is not just about his lights; it’s also about helping others. Hilyard asks everyone who stops to watch his display to donate an item of food to the Westerville Area Resource Ministries. People can leave their donations at the house, or take them to his brother’s place of business, a car dealership. Hilyard has received almost 1,000lb of donations thus far.

The Ministries could consider working with a flyer printing service to do a handout to be distributed throughout the town, reminding residents that when they go to see the display, then can also help others by donating food.