TIME TO LIGHT UP: Pat Kennedy is set to turn on his Christmas lights display at his West Ballina house this week.
TIME TO LIGHT UP: Pat Kennedy is set to turn on his Christmas lights display at his West Ballina house this week. Graham Broadhead

Pat lighting up the Northern Rivers once again for Christmas

WEST Ballina's Pat Kennedy admits his time lighting up his home for Christmas is nearing an end.

The 79-year-old is not saying this is his last light-up, but, with a few health problems, he said it was becoming more and more difficult to set up his display, which is somewhat of an institution in Ballina during the festive season.

He's been lighting up his home, at 3 Riverview Ave, for nearly 20 years.

"My wife says I should give it away,” he said.

"We'll see if I'm well enough next year.”

His motivation to mount the impressive display each year has always been to give enjoyment to children during the festive season.

And that's what continues to drive Mr Kennedy to clamber up the ladder and install the display made up of about 100,000 LED lights.

He said in recent years, there were adults who remembered visiting his house as children but now bring their own children along.

"It's been amazing,” he said of the reaction he received each year.

When he first started lighting up his house, Balllina Shire Council held a light-up competition, and then promoted homes that were lit up and held bus tours.

Those days are long gone, with the competition creating some angst among neighbours and council deciding the light-up didn't sit with their policy of reducing impacts on the environment.

Mr Kennedy said he gets hit with about a 50% increase on his power bill due to his Christmas lights, but he's happy to pay up to see his display light up the faces of young children.

He reckoned fewer people in Ballina now decorated their homes, but he's not sure why.

With his health problems, Mr Kennedy said he doesn't travel too far these days, so he won't be adding to his impressive display.

Mr Kennedy's house will light up from tomorrow night, December 1, and Santa will be there each night through to Christmas Eve, with 2000 lollies in his Santa sack. The light-up will continue, without the jolly fellow in red, through to New Year's Eve.


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