“I started doing holiday decorations because my son is enamored with lights,” says Ryan Winterbourne. This year, Winterbourne set up such an elaborate light display, programmed to seasonal music, that both his children and his neighbors’ children have been meeting at the sidewalk outside his house to dance to the moving lights and music.
So it should come as no surprise to Winterbourne that his house is one of the winners of the 27th Annual Holiday Decorations Awards, hosted by the City of Santa Clara. Fostering the holiday spirit, the contest encourages Santa Clara residents with a “thumb” for decoration to fix up the outside of their homes for the holidays.
“It was a year-long hobby to produce this display,” says Winterbourne, a first-time winner. “This year, we have an animated display with 21,000 lights. The majority of the lights in our display are made with LED lights…LED lights are a little more expensive but they’re energy efficient. My entire display only uses 20 amps of power, which is a little more than the energy you’d use when you turn on a vacuum cleaner. “
Winterbourne adds that one of his signature features is a 20-foot tall tree, made from red, green, and blue lights. According to Winterbourne, these lights can produce 32,000 different colors on the tree. The show hours at Winterbourne’s home, at 1640 Graham Lane, are from 5:30 to 10 p.m. until January 1.
Laura Antonopoulos is another first-time winner of the holiday decoration contest. For the last 26 years, Antonopoulos has decorated her house at 1872 Homestead Road for the holidays. Her cheerful decorations will be up at least until December 27, with the lights switched off at 10:30 p.m.
“We have a lot of reindeer, and we have an igloo, a snowman, and a penguin,” Antonopoulos says. “We have runway lights on the lawn with reindeer leading it. And this year, my 17 year-old son made eight Disney characters. He carved them out of wood and painted them. My husband helped and they all worked very hard to do this.”
This is the fourth year that Rick Crocker’s house is a winner for holiday decorations at 4292 Burdick Lane, and the third year that his Rivermark street, from 4292 to 4392 Burdick Lane, is recognized as the best decorated neighborhood. The decorations will be taken down after January 1. But until then, visitors can enjoy the decorations and automated lights in the evenings.
A gingerbread house, the Eiffel Tower, and tree ornaments are just a few of the many eye-catching pieces at Crocker’s home display. Decoration enthusiasts should catch a glimpse of the inflatable Santa Claus riding on an airplane while they still can.
“[The Santa on the airplane] might not make it to next year’s display; that inflatable is showing its wear and tear,” Crocker says. “We always try to add something new each year. The neighbors really love this.”
The other winning homes of the holiday decoration contest are at 2583 Johnson Place, 1882 Homestead Road, and 1827 Laine Avenue. Winning locations for best decorated trees are at 954 Sunlite Drive, 293 Maria Street, and 995 Capitola Way. Winning businesses are Seniore’s Pizza at 940 Monroe Street and Extra Storage at 2797 Scott Boulevard. The special neighborhood recognition award goes to the houses at 854 – 964 Capitola Way. Winners receive a sign for their lawn and will be recognized at a City Council meeting in January.