Flip the switch: EV home’s annual light display marks unofficial holiday season start - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Flip the switch: EV home’s annual light display marks unofficial holiday season start

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Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013 5:22 am

Admittedly, it is a little early to start talking about Christmas; Halloween is barely a week away, and Thanksgiving still awaits in the middle of the holiday sandwich. And there’s some reflection of that fact in Aaron Leach’s front yard in Mesa on Oct. 21, with several strands of light and inflatable ornaments unpacked but strewn all over the brown ground.

But most of it — from the lights on the roof to the mountain-like metallic structure toward the left of the display— is ready to go for the start of his two-month light show on Nov. 1. That is, as long as he has a home to stay in.

People who visit Leach’s home at 8709 E. University Drive in Mesa in the evening from the beginning of November through Jan. 4 will find a cavalcade of lights and fixtures, highlighted by a rooftop light display that blinks in sync with the music.

“If you bring your iPod, I’ll hook it up and play some decent songs,” he said.

That show will happen on a daily basis, but visitors who stop by between Wednesday and Saturday will also receive a video display that will run alongside the light show.

No matter when people arrive, Leach said they can sit in front of the show and watch it for free, although he said he will collect canned goods to donate to the United Food Bank, Phoenix Rescue Mission and St. Vincent de Paul.

This will be the sixth year Leach has conducted a home-light show for the holiday season — two years in Chandler followed by four in his current home in Mesa — and the impetus for the idea really began with his father, who used to do similarly complicated light displays back in California.

One difference between the father’s show and the son’s is the latter dedicates his to national events and causes like 9/11, the shootings in Aurora and Sandy Hook and, in particular, for the victims of the Yarnell Hill Fire.

“It (Yarnell Fire) hit home; it broke my heart hearing that story. [It was] a state tragedy, but also a national tragedy,” he said.

Although he doesn’t know any of the victims or their families of any of the events personally, Leach said he visited the temporary Yarnell memorial site five times before it was taken down, and he commemorates the events on the backs of the two vehicles parked in his driveway.

Visitors will find a hand-written sign on a large sheet of wood with the dedication to the Yarnell victims and to the 9/11 responders, as well as a flag commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the latter event from two years ago.

Once Leach completes the final few pieces of the display — he anticipated he’ll top it off by Oct. 23 — he’ll have spent approximately 15 to 20 hours putting everything together. Taking it down is a much faster process, and one he might have to do earlier than intended if the home he resides in with his mother officially forecloses.

He said it’s been in the process for more than a year — he conducted last year’s show under similar circumstances — and the end of the process could come in the midst of this year’s schedule, although that possibility is not a top priority for him as the holiday season arises.

“It doesn’t affect me; if we get kicked out, we get kicked out. I think we’re being watched out for,” he said. “I just don’t want it to happen in the middle of this … we’re just waiting for a miracle to happen.”

A few examples of Leach’s holiday festivities are available by visiting evtnow.com/5yx.

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