Ho-ho-ho, you’d better go (to this light show)

by Susan Gillin | Dec 09, 2019
 Sunnyslope display uses 41,405 LEDs

Is it too much of a stretch to call him Saint Nick?

Every year Nick Nelson gives the Wenatchee Valley the gift of a holiday light show. And this is no ordinary show. This is a lighted, animated, musical extravaganza of 41,405 LEDs.

The lights are called pixels, Nick said, and are comprised of one red, green and blue LED covered with a diffuser. “With computer control I can change the level of each red, green and blue LED, giving me over 16 million color combinations,” he said.

LEDs use a lot less energy than incandescent lights, although that’s not why Nick uses them. “I chose LEDs as they are the only lights available that are individually controllable,” he said. “You can do animated shows with normal lights but they are typically limited to on/off and dimming.”

The show runs 24/7 from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day or longer.

What about the electric bill?

Photo of Nick and Erin Nelson of SunnyslopeThe electric bill goes up for Nick and Erin Nelson (in photo), but not as much as you might expect. “In Chelan County we have some of the cheapest power around,” Nick said. “And even though I have a large display with thousands of lights, they don't use nearly as much power as people think. Due to the animated nature of the show, typically only a small portion of them are on at any given time.”

To avoid a big hit at the holidays, the Nelsons use the PUD’s Equal Pay Plan, which allows customers to make payments in the same amount each month.

This year’s spectacular features stars suspended in the night sky, trees that ripple with color and movement, rainbows of purple and white that wave in time to Pachelbel’s Canon. The display is timed perfectly to the music, ranging from the sweet to the sentimental to the satirical (one episode features a gentle poke at Christmas commercialism with glowing green dollar signs). The entire show lasts about 20 minutes.

Where to find the show

See it at 3418 Knowles Road, right behind the Sunnyslope Cemetery. Tune in to the music at 105.5 FM.

You don’t want to miss it – but be careful out there. Try to avoid contributing to a clog-up of cars when you stop to ooh and aah.

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