SET TO LIGHT UP: Ballina Christmas light-up regular, Pat Kennedy, of West Ballina, with some of his display for this year.
SET TO LIGHT UP: Ballina Christmas light-up regular, Pat Kennedy, of West Ballina, with some of his display for this year.

Ballina families light up

CHRISTMAS in Ballina just wouldn’t be the same without a few regulars flicking a power switch.

Now that December is upon us, Pat Kennedy, of 3 Riverview Avenue, West Ballina, and the Motbey family, of Oakland Avenue, have once again lit up their houses for the festive season.

Mr Kennedy, 72, has been lighting up for the past 12 years.

And this year he has gone green – he has replaced the power-sucking fairy lights with energy-saving rope lights.

There are about 60,000 lights on his house.

His Christmas came early as he bought the rope lights on special at hardware stores in Lismore and Tweed Heads – the chain wasn’t going to re-stock the lights when the credit crunch started to bite.

In previous years, lighting up his house has meant Mr Kennedy has paid an extra $200 or so on his electricity bill.

But with the new rope lights using 8 watts of power per metre compared with the 15 watts every metre of fairy lights used, he expects his power bill to be dramatically reduced.

And he said the move to energy-efficient lighting also was done to help the environment for Christmases to come.

A month or two ago, Mr Kennedy wasn’t sure if he was going to light up his house as he has had a year of illnesses.

He started work on preparing his house five months ago, but has only been able to work on the lights for an hour or two a day.

But he got there, and he lit up last week.

The annual beard has been grown as well for when he dresses as Santa to greet the children.

“I do it for the kids,” he said.

“The satisfaction I get from seeing these kids faces ...”

Meanwhile, the Motbey family of Oakland Avenue use their Christmas light-up to raise money for the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter and the SES.

A feature of their display is the helicopter on the roof of their home.

Ballina Shire Council each year co-ordinates The Northern Star Ballina Shire Christmas light up promotion.

Residents and businesses are encouraged to register their display for publication in the Christmas light-up map.

The map will be published in The Northern Star on Monday, December 21.

By registering your home in Christmas Light Up, you will be put in a draw to win one of two prizes – either a $1000 Escape Travel Voucher from the newly opened Ballina branch of Escape Travel or a combined prize pack consisting of a $200 home energy audit, a 10 per cent discount voucher and a worm farm valued at $200 from Eco-Options, plus a bike from Jack Ransom Cycles Ballina.

Businesses can also register for their chance to take out the coveted ‘best shopfront window’ award and win a media package valued at $2000.

Registrations close on December 17.

For more information, see the website or phone council on 6686 4444.

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