It started with several strings of lights and two houses. It grew to encompass an entire street.
“Some kids talk about them being the zigzag lights,” said Chad Dodd. “To me, it’s a web of lights.”
Dodd and Chris Eagle are the men behind that web of lights now draping houses and trees just north of Quail Run School on Woodridge Drive. The men, who are across-the-street neighbors, got the idea about five years ago after Eagle remembered a section of Kansas City’s Mission Hills neighborhood that had a similar decoration scheme.
“I mentioned to Chad, ‘Hey we ought to do that,’” Eagle said. “He said ‘I’m game, let’s go.”’
That first year, only their houses were involved. Dodd and Eagle scaled trees and climbed ladders, zigzagging white lights across the street to connect their houses. They got some strange looks, but when it got dark and the lights went on, people were impressed.
The next year a few neighbors asked to be included, and a few more the year after that. Now the men go up and down their street, asking who would like to be included. All but one household said yes this year.
The men provide the lights and install them, only asking each neighbor provide an outlet. The work takes more than 20 hours over Thanksgiving weekend.
“It’s three days of us with a 40-foot ladder climbing trees,” Eagle said.
Eagle and Dodd have been able to get more ambitious each year because of their day-after-Christmas shopping trips to Sam’s Club to buy whatever industrial-grade Christmas lights were left. But they’ve run into a problem. Sam’s Club and other stores have stopped carrying the classic Christmas lights they love in favor of LED lights.
“Chris and I are kind of traditionalists when it comes to lights,” Dodd said. “People keep asking if we’ll be updating to LEDs. We keep saying no.”
But not to worry: They have a friend in the electronics business searching for a supplier to keep them in old-fashioned lights.
In the meantime, the two are happy with their work even though it requires daily maintenance. Squirrels and other rodents chew on the lights, and the wind causes damage, too.
“It’s like any undertaking. Anything worth doing is worth overdoing,” Eagle said.
If you’d like to see the lights, you have until the end of the year. Eagle and Dodd will be spending New Year’s weekend dismantling their display.