MILLEDGEVILLE — Milledgeville-Baldwin County may not have a white Christmas this year though temperatures are just starting to drop. Many families have dressed up their homes and yards with lights, garlands, Christmas trees and Santa Claus to keep the holiday season in full swing for passersby to enjoy.
Richard and Sandra Phillips are presenting their annual holiday lights display at the training school for reindeers, otherwise well-known as the Reindeer Flight School.
“This year is the biggest it has ever been. It probably won’t get any bigger than this because we’re maxed out on receptacles,” Richard said. “We’ve expanded into our neighbor’s [Debbie Campbell] backyard, and she’s been an elf. Our other neighbor, Bruce Henderson, has also been an elf.”
Featuring 38,000 lights, visitors can take pleasure in displays of Santa Claus, the nutcracker, miniature Nativity scenes, an oversized candy cane, star and snowflake, flying reindeer, polar bears and cartoon characters.
“We also have scenes from ‘A Christmas Story,’ ducks playing instruments, a choir of mice, angels, different sized sleighs, and a new train set. We have 28 trees with a minimum of 300 to 400 lights. We have a hidden unicorn and a crashed deer that visitors can hunt for too,” Richard said. “We go to yard sales and purchase items and we get lots of donations; I’m running out of storage space. Folks have been kind enough to donate stuff over the last couple of years. Whatever we don’t use, I always find a home for it for somebody else.”
From 6 to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 9:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Santa welcomes all holiday aficionados through Friday, Dec. 28 at the Reindeer Flight School. The Reindeer Flight School is closed during inclement weather.
“It’s family-oriented, and if you love Christmas, then you have to come out and have a good time. Kids are so innocent and coming by here builds their imagination and we just love to see their joy,” Richard said. “No matter how old you are, when you pull up to the driveway, you automatically turn back to 3 years old.”
Donations for the Reindeer Flight School’s electric fund are also appreciated.
“We have a donation mailbox that helps us pay for the electric bill,” Richard said. “We thank the community for donating; it has helped a lot. It’s part of our success to keep this going every year.”
To visit the Phillips residence at 101 Sportsman Circle NE, take U.S. Highway 441 North and make a right on Sportsman Club Road by Serenity Wellness Spa, then turn right onto the third street off the right.
“Come meet Santa and take lots of pictures,” Richard said. “People can park on the side of the road as long as they do not block driveways. We are located on a circle, so people can go around so they don’t have to make a U-turn.”
Heading back toward town near Kroger, Tammy Lee has displayed more than 10,000 lights at her home on 129 Kenan Dr. NW for more than 10 years.
“I add something new to the display each year. Our neighbors have been enjoying it for quite some time,” she said. “We have several lighted reindeer, a 9-foot Christmas tree, a candy cane arch, a LED snowman, lights in bushes and Dogwood trees, and the whole house is lined with Christmas lights.”
New to this year’s layout include a 6-foot Eiffel Tower, spiral trees and many more LED lights.
“We bought all of the decorations and we’ve been adding to it over time. Last year at the end of the Christmas season, we were lucky to catch some of the items at closeout prices,” Lee said. “It take a lot of time and money. The power bill doubles at this time of the year.”
Visitors can take pleasure in the Christmas display between 6 and 9 p.m. every day until after Christmas Day.
“We turned on the lights on Thanksgiving Day,” Lee said. “If people enjoy pure Christmas light displays, then they will enjoy ours. We’re close to Kroger, so it’s a quick stop to and from Kroger.”
The Milledgeville Country Club (MCC) neighborhood Homeowner’s Association is also preparing to brighten up approximately four miles of streets with luminaries on each side, including Old Club Road, Long Acre Road, Sussex Drive, Sussex Court, Sussex Way, Windsor Way, Jeffrey Way and Hurst Drive.
“We’ve been doing the Christmas luminaries for more than 20 years,” said Bill Dyer, president of the MCC Homeowner’s Association.
The neighborhood streets will light up Sunday, Dec. 23 around 6 p.m. and riders, walkers and bicyclists can enjoy it until candles burn out.
“We have about 3,600 luminaries each year,” Dyer said. “About 130 residents in the neighborhood pitch in $6 a piece for the purchase of candles.”
Captain D’s provided bags for the luminaries and Fowler Flemister donated sand for the bags once again for this year’s holiday tradition.
“We thank the sponsors for making this possible,” Dyer said.
Other family-oriented Christmas light displays can also be seen at these suggested locations:
• Liberty Street
• Hancock Street
• Carrington Woods neighborhood
• Cords Bridge Road, off of Pearl Drive near Butler Ford on North Columbia Street
• Tractor Supply Company on North Columbia Street
• Scuffleboro Road in Putnam County
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