Leechburg Lights still shining on Main Street despite last year's house fire
Leechburg Lights still shine brightly on Main Street — after tragedy last year threatened to close the show.
The popular synchronized holiday music-and-light show is operating nightly — after a shaky and dramatic 2016 season that homeowner and show creator Clyde Lindsey would rather forget.
Now, Lindsey has two reasons to celebrate: he paid off his remodeling loan (more than $20,000) this month from last year's house fire that resulted in widespread sewer damage; and his beloved creation, Leechburg Lights, is celebrating its tenth season.
"I just couldn't not have a show last year," he said.
What began in 2008 with a modest light display of a few strings of lights has grown into a synchronized music and light display featuring 45,000 LED lights and more than 23 songs and 60 minutes of music — free to the public.
People visit from as faraway as Canada, Lindsey said.
New songs this season include "Do You Wanna Build A Snowman?" and "Let It Go" from Disney's animated mega-hit "Frozen."
Lindsey labors for a month setting up his annual display that features a 16-foot, arches, ground lights. It includes the red-nosed reindeer everyone loves — Rudolph, atop the roof.
Lindsey said he has "worked endlessly since Oct. 31" on days off from his full-time job managing the King's restaurant in Kittanning.
A nationally recognized light "sequencer," Lindsey grew up in Vandergrift but calls Leechburg home.
He considers programming Leechburg Lights his form of "therapy."
Lindsey is a "lighter," a person with the hobby of programming, building and designing holiday light displays.
He has more than 3,000 YouTube subscribers and has produced more than 135 video tutorials on building holiday light displays.
Leechburg Lights features more than 25 songs and 45,000 LED and RGB lights — all controlled from a single laptop.
Each bulb has the ability to display one of three colors: red, green and blue.
Lindsey can program up to a million color combinations due to RGB technology.
Leechburg business owner Edward Guzikowski loves leaving from his insurance office on Main Street and getting an eyeful from Leechburg Lights.
"I take a picture of it and use it for my holiday newsletter," Guzikowski said. "I like the whole theme and I give him a lot of credit.
"There is a hometown element to Leechburg Lights."
Lindsey's biggest expense is custom-made extension cord — with more than 4,000 feet of custom-built cords made with 18/4 gauge wire to create the show.
Typical household extension cords are no longer used Lindsey said.
"Copper prices have driven up this cost (extension cord)," Lindsey said.
A three-minute song requires more than 50 hours of sequencing by Lindsey.
"I have been extremely busy this year," Lindsey said. "I have begun professional sequencing for other holiday lighters."
Lindsey was hired to sequence "Illumination Symphony of Light," the largest drive-thru holiday light show in Phoenix, Az.
He worked remotely for five weeks and the paycheck from that one gig allowed Lindsey to pay off his remodeling loan; for that, he is grateful.
"I lost a lot of income last year with the fire and everything and this (job) is a blessing" he said.
Songs from artists such as Elvis, Martina McBride, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Mariah Carey and more provide a variety of holiday songs for all ages.
Lindsey's all-time favorite is "Silent Night."
The iconic "Here We Go" Steelers song is always in demand and requested often, Lindsey said.
"Everyone cranks that song up when it comes on," he said. "On Leechburg's Light-Up Night, I had 200 people standing outside waiting for the show to begin — and to hear the Steelers' song."
Diane Lingeris of Washington Township heard about Leechburg Lights via social media and visited this week with her husband, parking their car and tuning into 100.3 FM — Leechburg Lights' radio station.
They plan a return visit with their granddaughter, Sophia, 8, when she visits from Virginia.
"I love the variety of songs, and we sit for about 30 minutes and we love it," Lingeris said. "We'll go multiple times this year."
Joyce Hanz is a freelance writer.