Dearborn, Residents of Dearborn Heights Light Up Neighborhoods with Holiday Decor – Press and Guide
There is a scene from the movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” when the Chevy Chase character finally turns on the lights in her house and the electric meter starts to get out of hand. Some area residents feel they can relate to themselves, but they don’t really mind.
Most likely due to the pandemic, many residents have not put on extravagant displays and lights for the Christmas holidays in recent years. This year is different.
It’s time to pack the kids in the car and drive to see the festival light show. Not the one on Hines Drive (although you should check that out too) but the light shows in the neighborhoods around Dearborn and Dearborn Heights.
Pamela Romanchuk and her family are famous for the spooky Halloween exhibit set up on the lawn of their home in Grindley Park. Equally entertaining is their enchanting and whimsical Christmas display.
As soon as Halloween is over, the Romanchuk put their spooky decorations away and replace them with 300 strands of colorful lights and half a dozen Christmas-themed inflatables. New this season are the elves on a swing.
“I love our elves on the swings! Our neighbors love it and I see most of them every night, ”Pamela said. People walking past “can’t get enough of our screen.”
A few blocks away, Geneva Street in Dearborn is all lit up with Christmas lights.
Megan Matteson and her husband Carl at 2626 Geneva have replaced their Halloween decorations with countless strands of glowing light bulbs, including a shooting star emitting streaks of green and red light.
Matteson’s house ends with a house bathed in a soft purple glow and another surrounded by off-white lights that also dance among the branches of a tree.
Doug Lessnau is a first grade teacher at Bedford Elementary who decorates his house for Halloween but admits Christmas is his favorite time of year.
Forty-two illuminated arches span the sidewalk and extend from its property line to the corner. The decorations are a mix of the old and the new. Old glass bulbs glow on the porch while countless strands of modern LED lights twinkle across the yard.
Lessnau estimates that there are between 10 and 15,000 lights in front of the house.
Between the lights are vintage blow-molded plastic figures, some dating back to the 1950s.
Lessnau admits it took almost a week to put everything together with a few 10-hour days.
The big goal this year was to decorate the 50 foot tall tree south of his house. He had to hire an elevator to circle the tree with the fairy lights.
“The ‘cherry on top’ is Santa Claus and the reindeer on the garage roof. It’s an original plastic decoration from 1952, ”Lessanu said.
On Friday and Saturday evenings between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., Doug opens his garage as a stage to perform Christmas carols. He and his partner, Shawn, distribute hot chocolate and cookies to everyone who passes by. For several weeks, he has been organizing a toy drive which has attracted a lot of people.
“It’s been a poo the last few years, you know, and we just wanted to be party,” said the Dearborn Heights resident, basking in the light of the lights on his lawn. “Over the years and with the people who have been so depressed about the Covid thing and all that, we all need to cheer ourselves up a bit. And that should make you smile.
Doug Lessnau’s home is located at 4128 Hipp Street, just south of the old Saint-Sébastien school.
Doug said he enjoys looking at other exhibits to get inspiration for next year and has already started planning. One home he is sure to visit is Vinnie Buber’s house on the corner of Academy and Powers, also in Dearborn Heights.
Buber admits he traditionally turns on lights everywhere in front of his house, but an illness this year has prevented him from doing so. Instead, he chose to improve on the 30 inflatables he built last year by adding more.
Forty-three illuminated inflatables decorate Buber’s backyard. And his creativity inspired his neighbor who added his own inflated vacation plane and lights.
“We love Christmas,” said Buber, who also decorates for Halloween, Memorial Day and July 4 when he spreads over 300 flags on the lawn.
It took him about 4 days to set everything up and secure all the inflatables. His pride and joy are Santa Claus and the 20ft tall toy soldier.
People walk by and slow down to stare at screens all night, he said.
Across town, beware of the Grinch trying to steal the thousands of flashing lights on the lawn at 24310 Calvin Street.
At the corner of the house on Calvin Street, Dawn and Dion Eden have 27 illuminated arches on the sidewalk of their house at 24301 Notre Dame Street. Giant light bulbs and a 6 foot tall Santa Claus complete the dazzling lighting.
From Eden’s house a short walk down the street will bring you to Cathryn Wreford’s house at 24142 Notre Dame.
“Our block is killing it this year with our lights, decorations and lighted arches,” Wreford said. And she’s not lying. Many inhabitants of Notre Dame between Telegraph and Banner make DTE happy.
Wreford’s front lawn is home to a dazzling and enchanting display with a huge, bloated Santa Claus, a playhouse, and a letterbox for Santa’s letters. It is certain that Santa Claus and Ms Claus have their Covid booster shots but as a safety measure Ms Claus is wearing as a face mask as she stands guard next to the letterbox.
Finally, the Christmas season wouldn’t be complete without music, right? Going down Woodside Street near Pelham and Rotunda, tune your radio to 88.1 FM. The Wilson House at 2010 Woodside Drive in Dearborn has animated singing trees, a pixel tree, and a choreographed light show that dances with their radio station.