Valley of Lights Continue to Bring Holiday Joy
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12 December 2016
 
The soldier display on Highway 69 in Prescott Valley Directing Individuals to the "Valley of Lights" Photo by: Torrence Dunham

"Valley of Lights" Features over Sixty-Two Displays for 2016 Holiday Season

During the holiday season in Prescott Valley since 2000, people have witnessed a tall soldier light display on Highway 69 directing individuals on a journey to witness a Christmas light wonderland brighten the dark sky.

The idea behind the display was originally started by Lew Rees, who at the time was the Executive Director of the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce, after working on a similar project in Missouri.

“He looked at that opportunity of creating a holiday lighting display for Prescott Valley which would bring people here,” said Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce CEO Marnie Uhl. “Not only serve our local community and the communities around us, but actually make Prescott Valley a destination and so that was kind of the thought behind it.”

The attraction started with small beginnings and continued to grow each year by gaining sponsorships and donations to support more displays being added. Seventeen years later, sixty-two displays with over six-hundred pieces consisting of more than a million bulbs are featured for people to enjoy.

Jeff Schaffer of Advanced Electrical Contracting, a local business in Prescott Valley, has overseen the project for eight years since the departure of the original company that started building the display with Rees. The attraction allows Schaffer to work with Christmas lights-something he has enjoyed for most of his life.

“I grew up with them as a kid,” said Schaffer who mentioned his home was compared to the Griswold family home from the 1989 movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation by those who saw the light display on his own house. “I’ve always been around that and I’ve brought my kids up since birth-old enough to walk around in the yard holding my hand-to do Christmas lights and now it has just grown into this.”

Schaffer no-longer decorates his own house but he considers the “Valley of Lights” his yearly display.

“It’s a huge sense of pride because the whole community gets to see it,” Schaffer said. “As long as I have been doing it-there’s a lot of people that know I do it-so I always get comments on it and compliments and it’s just good to know that its appreciated.”

Individuals can even pay to have their own design created by Advanced Electrical Contracting and have their idea in the display once the project is checked off by the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce and Schaffer.

The creation of the “Valley of Lights” is no small feat as it involves countless hours of dedication and work. Schaffer said the planning begins in June or July and then in the second week of September, Schaffer and his team unload the displays and do a continuous check for light bulb issues or repairs that need to be done. Once the attraction is open, Schaffer and his team spend at least an hour or two each day checking to make sure the display is brightly lit for the people who come.

As the years continue, the attraction could see more of a focus toward LED lighting. Schaffer said a few of the displays have already been re-wired to LED lighting recently which saves cost while remaining very similar. 

“Valley of Lights” is located off highway 69 to 2nd St and Fain Park in Prescott Valley and is open from dusk until 10:00pm every night from November 24th to December 30th. The attraction is free but those wishing to donate have the chance to do so at the end of the display.

“I’d like to thank my family and also the Chamber just for allowing me to do this and the patience to have with me during the months that it takes to do this,” Schaffer said. “My family sacrifices for me knowing that it’s important for me to do this, so it’s important for me to appreciate my family.”

Photos by Torrence Dunham

 

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