Good Life

State College family turns on the lights

Video: State College Christmas light display salutes 'Star Wars'

A State College home on Harvest Run Road North includes a 'Star Wars' themed segment in a Christmas light show that is synchronized to music.
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A State College home on Harvest Run Road North includes a 'Star Wars' themed segment in a Christmas light show that is synchronized to music.

There hasn’t been any snow yet, but to look at Eric Stoner’s house is to be reminded that it’s Christmas in State College.

For the second year in a row, Stoner and his family have transformed their Harvest Run Road house into a two-story Christmas ornament, a flashing, dazzling, musical display that could rival a show in Las Vegas headlined by Santa Claus himself.

The lights that festoon every corner of the property, from the snowflake patterns on the roof to the arcs of colorful bulbs positioned above the grass, don’t just twinkle — they perform.

“As the technology grows we hope to get up in our game,” Stoner said.

Stoner is the typical suburban patriarch, the kind that brings a tangled heap of Christmas lights up from the basement at the end of every November.

It’s not like you just wake up one day and say ‘I’m going to be a light programmer.’

Eric Stoner

He’s the proprietor of Nittany Entertainment, a locally based company that provides services such as music and lighting for parties, weddings and other events.

Stoner said that his family holiday light display is a hobby — a game of golf that takes longer and requires more expensive clubs.

It began, in short, as a lark.

“It’s not like you just wake up one day and say, ‘I’m going to be a light programmer,’ ” Stoner said.

Last year’s display was a big success, a showstopper that would be hard to top — and so of course Stoner had to try.

He estimated that it takes approximately 10 hours to program the lighting sequence for a single song. The family has learned how to use the individual bulbs to create complex graphics.

An image that bears a striking resemblance to the Millennium Falcon graces the lawn during a rendition of the “Star Wars” theme music.

The show itself is a smooth ride, most of kinks having been worked out over the summer, but there’s still a price to be paid for art.

“My wife is very tired of hearing ‘All I Want for Christmas,’ ” Stoner said.

Stoner said that so far, the response to the show has been positive. Cars passing by even stop and honk their horns in approval.

What really has him excited is the charity component that the family also decided to add this year. Donations made at statecollegelights.com will go toward the Ronald McDonald House in Danville.

“It makes me feel good, especially this time of year,” Stoner said.

IF YOU GO

What: Stoner’s holiday lights

When: 5-11 p.m. daily

Where: 107 Harvest Run Road, State College. (Turn onto Harvest Run Road north and pull your car off to the side of the road, with your parking lights on.)

Info: Tune your radio to 88.5 FM to hear the music that accompanies the show. Visit statecollegelights.com for directions, playlist and to donate to the Ronald McDonald House.

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