A Rash of Christmas Lights, The Man Behind The Lights At Lawson Farms
You could say there’s a rash of Christmas lights in the Midlothian neighborhood of Lawson Farms.
As in Mark Rash’s display. To say it is bright and brilliant would be an understatement. While it may not be seen from space, it is certainly a sight for those fortunate enough to make their way to his address at 257 Noble Nest Dr.
The display features almost 18,000 RGB LED lights, which are individually computer synchronized to music. The first thing you will notice is the 21-foot tall “Mega Tree” that contains 2,700 RGB LEDs all on its own.
Then as you start to look to the right you will find a singing Christmas tree, a singing reindeer, and three singing Christmas bulbs. In the middle of the display is a 6.5-foot wide RGB Panel that looks like a giant TV. Surrounding that are various snowflakes, candy canes, mini trees, arches, and light panels.
“I think everyone’s favorite part of the show is the Mega Tree. That’s where you’ll find singing snowflakes, a singing Abominable Snowman, and other cute pictures depicting what you hear about in the songs,” Rash said. “I know the kids like the singing reindeer and seeing the cartoon characters on the RGB panel.
“My favorite part of the show is the two large round props in the middle top of the display. They look like the shapes from the old Spirograph art kit I had as a kid.”
Shows are Sunday through Thursday nights from 6-10 and Friday and Saturdays from 6-11 p.m. If you stay in your car you can listen to the music on your radio at 95.5FM. The busiest nights are Friday and Saturday. On those nights visitors are encouraged to park a block or two away and walk over to the show.
There are speakers outside so you can hear the music. On most nights, the songs are a mix of classic and contemporary Christmas hits. There are also nights where the songs are from the 80s, movies, and radio hits. There is also a Facebook page where daily updates are posted with the night’s playlist.
Inspired By A Viral Video
Rash first got the idea for his majestic display when he was still living in Granbury in 2006. He saw a viral video from Carson Williams’ house in Ohio that got him interested in Christmas lights that are synchronized to music. (The Original “Wizards in Winter” Christmas Light Show [Remastered]).
A year later he saw this video of Richard Holdman’s house in Utah, which made Rash decide he absolutely had to do this at his dad’s house in Granbury. (HD Version – Music Box Dancer – Holdman Christmas Display 2007).
And that is when the tradition began.
“I started working on my first light show in December of 2007 that went live in November 2008 at my dad’s house (he lived down the street). That show used all incandescent lights that were white, red, and green only. We kept the show like that for seven years,” Rash said.
“In 2015 I moved from Granbury to Mansfield. That same year we converted my dad’s display to all RGB LED lights that were individually controllable. I also created an RGB LED display at my new house in Mansfield.
“In 2020 I moved to Midlothian. My dad decided he was ready to retire from Christmas lighting, so I combined all the lights from Granbury and Mansfield into the new display at Midlothian.”
Bigger, Better, Brighter In 2021
His first Midlothian show in 2020 had approximately 10,000 RGB LEDs. This year’s show has almost doubled in light volume.
It didn’t take long for Rash’s display to make an impression. Last year it won the neighborhood light contest, neighbors vote for their favorites.
“Almost all of our neighbors love the lights – there’s always one Grinch,” Rash said with a chuckle. “My neighbor behind me has built a beautiful lighted tunnel over the sidewalk so that people walking to the show can get a great photo opportunity.
“I love that everyone started putting up their lights early this year to make the neighborhood very festive. I do ask people who come to see the lights to be respectful of the neighbors and keep their radio volume down, turn their lights off, and not block traffic.”
And when the traffic does get heavy, you will see Rash wearing a Santa hat and safety vest to direct cars where to go.
Lawson Farms Neighborhood A Christmas Light Destination
The Lawson Farms neighborhood was already a Christmas lighting destination before Rash moved in. Now, thanks to him, it is better than ever.
“There are many beautiful classically decorated houses that are awe-inspiring. I enjoy driving around the neighborhood cheering my neighbors as they put up the lights,” he said.
“Time will tell if more people want to put up an animated display. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s really a passion that you have to have all year. Most people don’t like to listen to Christmas music for as long as it takes to program a show.”
The Christmas light show is a year-long project for Rash. He starts in January building props and working on the programming. Then, starting just before Halloween it takes him four weekends to put up all the props and wire them to the controllers. Then it takes a few days of testing and troubleshooting before it’s ready to go live on Thanksgiving night.
But it’s not a solo project, never has been.
“This was definitely a family bonding activity when I first started the display at my dad’s house. My mom, dad, and I would all work on the show together,” he said. “My mom has since passed and my dad is not physically able to do as much as he used to, so my wife and I do most of the work now. But my dad and my best friend from Granbury still come over each year to help me put up the Mega Tree.
“Christmas was always a huge event for my family. I would bug my parents each year to get up the lights and the tree. I’ve always been fascinated with Christmas lights and my dad is as over the top with hobbies as I am. It just seemed natural that we would take it as far as we could.”
And one of the very best parts of it all is seeing others enjoy the holiday season a little more, thanks to his display, Rash said.
“I love seeing kids dancing and singing along to the songs. The smiling faces are what makes it worthwhile,” he said.