ShareThis Page

North Huntingdon family lights way for Dream Team

Michael DiVittorio
| Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, 11:39 a.m.
Jamie's Dream Team founder Jamie Holmes and North Huntingdon Township resident Tim Harff set up the donation box for the Harff family's Christmas light display at 1907 Bernice Dr.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Jamie's Dream Team founder Jamie Holmes and North Huntingdon Township resident Tim Harff set up the donation box for the Harff family's Christmas light display at 1907 Bernice Dr. Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News

A North Huntingdon Township family's tradition of transforming their house into a Christmas light spectacular for charity enters its fifth year.

Tim Harff flicked the switch on his estimated 20,000-dancing-light display on Saturday at 1907 Bernice Drive in the Markvue Manor section of the township.

He was accompanied by officials from White Oak-based Jamie's Dream Team, a nonprofit dedicated to making dreams come true for the sick and injured.

The Harff family collected donations for Circleville Volunteer Fire Department and Ronald McDonald House in previous years.

Last year, they raised almost $2,000 for the Dream Team.

“This is the second year that these wonderful people have donated their house to support our foundation,” founder Jamie Holmes said. “They're absolutely amazing. They have stuck by us from day one. Anything that we've needed, even off season, they're there. That family truly believes in Jamie's Dream Team.”

The Dream Team was founded by Holmes in 2005.

Harff learned about the organization after Holmes helped a friend, Brandon Lewis, years ago. Lewis died Jan. 21, 2009, at the age of 21 after a long battle with leukemia.

“I like what she's done in the community, and I think (hers is one) of the best organizations in the local community that we can donate to,” Harff said. “We were able to raise just over $1,900 last year, and we hope to increase it this year.”

Harff said he doubled the lights on the mega tree, added two new songs, a few more lights to the house and additional yard decorations, and used about a mile of extension cords.

The new songs are “Carol of the Bells” and Mariah Carey's “Where Are You Christmas?” The majority of the music is from Trans Siberian Orchestra.

Harff, a former Norwin High School stagehand, got into lighting at a young age. He said a friend introduced him to the music of TSO, and that sparked an idea.

“I've always been a Christmas buff,” Harff said. “After seeing their shows, I really wanted (to put on a show). If I was doing something like this to attract people, why not try and make it toward a good cause?”

Harff said the display takes about a week and a half to set up with help from family and friends, and programming the music takes about 60 hours. He tries to get his lights through after-Christmas sales, and every year the display grows into something bigger than before.

A large donation mailbox stands outside the residence awaiting monetary contributions from visitors and passersby.

“We appreciate all the support the community's given over the past couple years,” Harff said.

“We want to thank everybody else for participating in this as well,” Holmes added. “The money's going to help us make dreams come true.”

Lights are on Sundays through Thursdays from 5:30-10:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30-11:30 p.m.

More information about Jamie's Dream Team is available at Monetary donations to Jamie's Dream Team can be sent to 2023 Cypress Drive, White Oak, 15147.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.