VIENNA - Over the last couple of years, Vienna resident Junior Blair has started turning his building skills from years of construction and an interest in working with his hands into a holiday hobby that lights up his home and neighborhood.
Blair, 55, of 1101 41st St., Vienna, builds holiday lights he displays at his home at the end of 41st Street, a few blocks from Vienna Elementary School, where he lives with his wife, Terrie.
He worked for years at Johns Manville in Vienna and then operated his own company, Blair Construction, which did home building and remodeling until he had to stop in 2006 for medical reasons.
Photos by Wayne Towner
Junior Blair of Vienna has started creating a growing holiday lights exhibit at his home at 1101 41st St. The display can be viewed from 6-10 p.m. daily through the end of the holiday season.
Blair decided to try his hand at making holiday displays a couple of years ago, starting with stars, poinsettias and arches. He has worked with his son, Joe Blair, on the pieces.
This year, he decided to put together a larger display on his property with a variety of pieces mixing hand-made items and decorations he has purchased over the years.
"My neighbor was kind of teasing me last year because I had quite a bit of lights. She goes 'Am I going to need sunglasses next year?' and I said 'Yeah, you probably are,'" Blair said with a chuckle.
"I have about 15,000 (lights) this year," he said. "We're looking to probably double that next year."
Many of the pieces he has created over the past year feature metal frames with rope lights, built in the shapes he wants to create. Blair said he has done most of the design and construction work himself, working out how to create the shapes he wants with his own hands.
"This is the first year I've worked with the rope lights and I had to experiment with it a little bit and work at that," Blair said, adding that is part of the fun.
"It's a challenge and you can see what you can create out of that," he said.
Blair said he has worked on the decorations throughout the past year, off and on, and then started setting everything up in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving with his son's help. The lights officially went on for the holiday season on the day after Thanksgiving. Everything is controlled by laptop computer, which Joe Blair helps program.
The lights will be on display from 6-10 p.m. each evening through the end of the holiday season. As part of the display, Blair said he purchased a small radio transmitter from the same company where he purchased the control boxes he is using to operate everything. He is using it to broadcast holiday music on the frequency of 91.1 FM, with a coverage area of about a half-mile, allowing him to synchronize the lights with the music without disturbing neighbors by playing loud holiday music outdoors.
Blair said he has received positive responses from his neighbors and others to display, primarily through word-of-mouth. He will probably wait a couple days after New Year's before he starts taking things down and begins planning for next year, he said.