With the holiday season upon us and the sun setting over green country earlier, there is nothing more enjoyable than piling the family into the car and driving through neighborhoods to take in stunning Christmas lights.
Tulsa is a festive city and a mecca for Christmas lights from ambitious individuals covering their house with stringed blinkies, to broadcasting their own private light show set to music using an FM transmitter.
So how can a family seeking an evening of entertainment find the best trek? Start with a drive through south Tulsa subdivision Preston Woods, located at 111th between Sheridan and Yale. The Perkins home, located on the corner at 5705 East 110th Street, is a showstopper with 30,000 lights. They change their music every year with songs to please every audience member from traditional Christmas music to children’s tunes to the latest rock hit. It’s the Perkins’ teenage daughter that is credited for the rock selection. Trees, rooflines and poles blink in sync with each note. Their radio signal is posted on a sign out front, 98.3 FM. On a busy night, the traffic piles up as limos pull in and out.
Wife Laura Perkins just smirks and shakes her head at her husband’s efforts as it seems the brains behind the equipment and systems is electrical engineer Jay Perkins.
“[The display] enables families to create memories as a family unit,” Jay Perkins said. “They would be able to remember the nights sitting out in front of the ‘crazy guy’s’ Christmas lights.”
For 14 years now, showtime starts on Thanksgiving evening and runs through New Year’s Eve from 6 to 11 p.m. nightly. Be prepared to wait in turn for the prime spot at the corner in front of the house; parking turns over about every 25 minutes, the length of the show. Remember to turn off the headlights.
Just a few blocks away in Forest Park South subdivision at 104th and Sheridan, the houses are breathtaking, trimmed out and ready for passersby. One particular home, 6125 E 106th Street, belonging to Doug and Suzanne Wright, is a show to be seen. It too boasts of 30,000 lights timed to music, a 25-minute spectacular show, and broadcasting their own radio frequency, 105.7 FM. They have traditional Christmas music, but keep the seat belt on as one tune boasts screaming guitars that wail out a tune while the lights flicker wildly.
“We love driving around during the holiday season and looking at Christmas lights,” Bixby mother of three Bethany Pepin said. “The girls get snuggled up in their pajamas. We have our favorite spots we check out every year but always seem to happen upon new ones to add to our list. It’s one of my favorite Christmas traditions.”
Lastly, drive on up to midtown and take a tour of Maple Ridge, a historic district of Tulsa. Peoria Avenue borders the neighborhood on the east, the Inner Dispersal Loop on the north, Hazel Boulevard to the south, and on the west is the Midland Valley Railroad right of way. Now, the families who live in this neighborhood are lighting enthusiasts and host a promising show.
A thermos of hot coffee, a hipflask of cocoa for the kids, and a handful of snacks would top off the drive-thru adventure nicely.
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