At 6pm on November 28th the lights turned on for the season. Our usual light up party had to change due to restrictions on gatherings and the number of visitors to ones home. We managed to reconfigure the event to have a drive by bottle drive for the McKnight Atom hockey teams and also collect food for the Calgary Food Bank. Although it wasn’t the event it usually is, it was great to see many faces I haven’t seen in the last 8 months and have a short socially distanced chat with friends when they were dropping food and bottles off.
The lights will be Running November 28th – January 2nd. 6pm-10pm Sun-Thu, 5-10:30pm Fri & Sat and all day Christmas day. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings we have kids hour from 7-8:30pm (I know its not an hour) with kid focused songs or the songs they will know the words to and be able to sing along with, there may also be an Elf outside to wave at the kids. We also have a heavy half on Friday and Saturday evenings from 9:30-10pm featuring hard rock and heavy metal Christmas renditions.
Getting to the go live required one last weekend putting out the ground items and the decorative pieces such as the snowman, wooden cutouts, garage and fence banners, the new “Workshop” sign for the North Poles and anything else decorative. I also spent some time adding lights to the donation sign and the Food Bank donation box. After Everything was done I had to buy and add one more item, a 6′ Nutcracker.
I also had a couple of issues to troubleshoot. I had another bad pixel around my garage (I’m thinking I drilled the holes in the PEX too small and that the nodes are getting damaged when pushed in), I also had a flood light that wasn’t working. What I initially thought was a loose solder on the incoming line ended up being a burnt board. Holiday Coro refunded me for the spotlight and I ordered a new one which I got put in this week.
After all the decorations were installed I focused on finishing my audio upgrade, getting the new speaker mounted in the tree and then on to the RDS. Setting up the RDS was quite easy but it was tedious creating a .BAT and .TXT file for each sequence then creating the command line call in each sequence file. The end effect wasn’t quite as cool as I hoped for but is still pretty cool. I think I need to mess around with the settings a little more to fine tune the message delivery speed.
As we were waiting for the light up, many houses throughout the neighborhood started turning their lights on so I decided to have a count down to light up. It starting with a single “string” of lights and adding a new “string” each night.
The light up went off without a hitch and was the best weather we have ever had for it, which is a bit disappointing as the kids usually play street hockey from early afternoon until 8 or 9 pm. The go live party was quite different from previous years with increased limitation on social gatherings. Instead of a party we held a drive by bottle and food drive. It was great to see many of the people we have not seen in the last 8 months and have socially distanced conversations with them while they were in their cars. Although it wasn’t the great event it has been in the past we still had a successful bottle drive raising over $1,000 to be split across 3 McKnight Atom Hockey teams and collected over 400lbs of food for the Calgary Food Bank. I look forward to seeing if we can double that number over the duration of the season.
I will be posting videos as I capture them throughout the season on the 2020 Show page. This year I am editing them with Filmora to replace the audio I record outside with the source audio file for the Sequence. This gets rid of all the background noise such as wind, cars and people talking making the video much better. Here are the first couple I have completed.
I am also hoping to add a couple of new sequences to the show. I haven’t added many new ones since I did the conversion to this years layout. I think this maybe partly due to screen fatigue from been at the PC 8-12hrs a day with the headset on with few or no breaks, vs. the usual combination of online and in person interactions. I will try and get a couple w new ones added for the year, these include a couple for my heavy half show; Father Christmas by Chris Jericho, and The magic of Christmas Day by Dee Snider and Lizzy Hale and a new kick off Sequence to Hey Come Look At My House.
Merry Christmas & Enjoy the Show