By Miriam Raftery
December 8, 2015 (Santee) – Michael Balazs has created the ultimate Christmas light show at his Santee home “to bring smiles to the neighborhood children and adults alike.” This year’s show at 9773 Roe Drive, Santee features 28,000 lights synced to eight musical songs ranging from Party Rock to Carol of the Bells. It's all synced to FM radio so people can get out of their cars and dance to show their holiday spirit.
This year, he switched to professional LED lighting – and slashed his electricity bill to a shockingly low $50 to $70 a month, he says.
“I do this light show in memory of my father, who passed away from cancer in 2009,” he explains. “Christmas was his favorite time of year and following his death, I knew this would make him look down and smile.”
He began his elaborate holiday decorating five years ago and today, helps bring awareness and raise money for the American Cancer Society, Children’s Cancer Charity and Santee Santas.
Some visitors have offered donations to help him buy new lights or pay his power bill, but he says “I refuse to take them and instead ask for them to donate money to a cancer charity.”
Creating the light show is a major production that takes 10 volunteers a month or more to set up, plus 8 to 10 hours for each minute of music to synchronize the songs and several days to tear-down after Christmas.
“I would really like to see more smiles come from it,” says Balazs, a member of the U.S. Navy. “The only thing I get from this is purely people saying how much they enjoyed watching the show. And when I walk outside and see little kids in front of the house dancing to the music and lights it makes me smile and I know my father is looking down smiling as well.”
The show features Light-O-Rama Conrollers, 478 computer-controlled channels and three comic color LED ribbons capable of producing 1.5 million colors of light. The old show, before LED lighting, needed 80 amps of power and about 8,000 watts at full power. Now his power is “a fraction of that, he says.
Show times: 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and5:30 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights through January 1st.