I’d been tagged numerous times by local friends to check out the Woodard Family Lights in central Madison, so last night we finished up dinner at home and then buckled up our three young daughters in the car to go for a spin to get us closer to bedtime (if you have/had young kiddos, you surely know what I mean!)
We headed over to 228 Knotting Place off of Gillespie Road, and as soon as we turned onto the street we knew we were in for a treat.
We flipped the radio to 97.1, parked against a curb that was already lined with three or four cars, and thoroughly enjoyed about 20 minutes of dancing Christmas lights choreographed to mostly holiday music. Simply watching our kids take it all in was the best part. (*Ahem* – The actual best part was that the outing was free!)
Woodard Family Lights in Madison, Alabama
I got in touch with homeowner and Christmas light extraordinaire Keith Woodard to get the nitty-gritty on how (in the world!) he makes this possible.
1.) When and why did you start the light show?
I started my show in 2013. At the time, it was a fairly simple show that has now grown into the show as seen in this year’s show. I began the show as a way to use my engineering background in a fun, creative way.
As a child, I always loved Christmas light displays. After seeing some videos of animated lights shows, I thought it would be a fun hobby to use my electrical and software engineering background.
2.) What is special about this year’s display?
This year’s display is a continued expansion of my show with more lights and new songs as well.
Also, new for this year is an interactive feature where viewers can request a song by visiting our website. In a year where we’ve all been trying to social distance, I hope the show provides some fun, safe entertainment that families can enjoy together.
3.) What tips do you have for those planning to drive by?
- Tune the radio to 97.1 FM.
- Turn off your headlights to keep from blinding other viewers.
- Make sure you are not blocking anyone’s driveway.
- Please keep your radio at a reasonable volume so as to not disturb the neighbors.
- Please do not enter the yard or display area as there are a lot of hard to see wires and cords.
- For best viewing, enter the neighborhood from Gillispie road.
4.) What do you love about doing this show year after year?
This has turned into a year-long hobby and I put a considerable amount of time into getting the show ready. What makes it worth all the effort is seeing the joy it brings to people, especially children. Seeing kids hanging out of car windows, sitting on the sidewalks, and dancing with the lights makes the effort worthwhile.
5.) What do your neighbors have to say?
My neighbors have been supportive (at least I haven’t received any complaints from them yet). I try to be respectful of them by ending the show at a reasonable time and trying to keep the traffic from interfering too much.
6.) What advice do you have for others who would like to create something like this at their home one day?
A show can be a great, fun experience but it takes a lot of planning and work. If someone wants to do a show, I would encourage them to start small and start early.
There are a lot of great resources for people starting out. If someone is interested in doing a show, they can reach me on my Facebook page and I can answer any specific questions.
To see some videos from our ride over last night, head to the All Things Madison Instagram page!
Please note: The Woodard Family Lights will run nightly through Christmas from 5 – 9 p.m. Please avoid overcrowding the street as Woodard is aware of other light shows that ultimately have to be taken down due to traffic issues. In a nutshell, go as early in the month as possible and during a less popular time if able (i.e. closer to 5 p.m. or between 8-9 p.m.)