You’ll know a dazzling light show is up ahead when traffic in a neighborhood slows down. Folks throughout the Quad-Cities have gone to great lengths to share the dazzle of the holidays, much to the delight of families and friends who make it a tradition to go for a drive and take in the art of outdoor Christmas displays.
Patience behind the wheel will be rewarded if you join the throngs of cars at the Kall Christmas lights, 1852 Westminster Circle, in Davenport, to see the lights that move in sync to the music.
“We have 71,066 lights and four different musical shows, one of which will play every half an hour,” said Aubrey Kall, 22, who said this is the family’s seventh year of shows and the 11th year of lights at this address.
When she was 15, Aubrey Kall saw a television commercial featuring a house with synchronized lights and music. She told her parents, Erika and Ed Kall, that she would love to create a similar show for their own home.
They agreed and purchased the necessary software and other equipment. In the meantime, Aubrey Kall learned all the coding.
“My goal is to go to Disney World and do this for them,” said Aubrey Kall, who is pursuing her master of business administration degree at Northern Michigan University, where her brother, Adam Kall, is a junior majoring in mathematics and computer science.
To set up the whole display, including the electrical work, takes about 200 hours, she said. “My parents put up the lights, and Adam does the electrical work.”
She said the annual family project makes the Kalls happy, and they delight in seeing the joy it brings to others.
This year, they have four different shows, including music from “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Aubrey Kall created her own musical montage.
“I’ve been getting into music editing in the past few years, too,” she said.
Usually, a Kall family member is on-hand outdoors unless the weather is extremely inclement.
“We basically live our life in 20-minute increments or less, because we often stay outside and talk to people,” she said. “So, we think it's funny that it takes us four hours to watch a two-hour movie.”
The shows are about 3½ minutes long, she said. They run every half-hour, starting at 5:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, with the last show at 10:30 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, the last show is at 11 p.m.
The shows continue, rain or shine, until Jan. 3, she said. The Kalls ask visitors not to park in front of their neighbors' driveways, anywhere they see traffic cones, or stop in the middle of the street so traffic snarls aren’t created.
Aubrey Kall started her own business doing shows for people in 2012.
“I've gotten to program displays in Massachusetts, Texas, Louisiana and Michigan,” she said. “I also got to teach a seminar this past summer about how to program Christmas lights to music at the annual Christmas Expo in Texas.”
Across the Mississippi River, The Force is equally strong at a Moline Christmas display at 15th Street and 26th Avenue near the former Garfield Elementary School.
Not only does it include “Star Wars” characters Yoda, C-3PO and R2-D2, it also features the Minions, multiple reindeer, a Nativity scene and a two-story Santa that towers over the entire scene of dozens of other inflatable characters. A galaxy of lights adorns the house, the characters and the fence. You can even see Santa Claus just inside the door while he pores over a list.
Prepare to drive slowly when you take your family to enjoy the display, because sightseers stop to take photos, walk up close and leave canned goods for the food pantry at Tabernacle Baptist Church, across the street from the home.
More lights are scattered throughout the Glen Armil Neighborhood, in Davenport, where the neighborhood association sponsored a lighting contest. The boundaries of the Glen Armil neighborhood are between Gaines and Marquette streets and from Locust Street north to Central Park Avenue.
You can drive through the Quad-Cities and see lights in many other neighborhoods. Send photos of displays you see to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll add them to our online gallery.
Among the spots to enjoy are:
• 738 Spaulding Blvd., Davenport
• 1208 W. Lombard St., Davenport
• 1125 Berg Place, Davenport
• 2413 Marquette St., Davenport
• 721 Central Park, Davenport
• 905 Central Park, Davenport
• 918 Spaulding Boulevard, Davenport
• Armil Place from Central Park Avenue to Rusholme Street, Davenport
• 2300-2500 block of Warren Street, Davenport
• 900-1000 block of Spaulding Boulevard, Davenport
• 2420 Warren St., Davenport
• 2319 Armil Place, Davenport
• 2311 Olympia Drive, Bettendorf, where two homes have created a single display
• 1107 95th Ave. W., Rock Island
• Village of East Davenport, along River Drive and in McClellan Heights