Allie Howard, 3 1/2, couldn't sit in the car with her mom, Jane Howard, and her aunt Terri while the Christmas lights danced. She had to get out and see for herself.
Allie watched, wide-eyed, from Scott and Lisa Kennedy's front yard as their display of Christmas lights glowed and glittered over the rooftop and across the lawn.
The Kennedys have created a magical orchestration of lights and music at their Mooresville home to share with anyone who drives by. Motorists can tune their radios in to 96.5 FM for the full effect as they watch from their cars on Trollingwood Lane.
Each cadence of lights beams to the beat of a series of songs that include "Music Box Dancer," "Sleigh Ride" and "Firework," by Katy Perry. Lisa Kennedy chose "Firework" as a tribute to their Mega Snowflake.
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"Once I get the vision, I have to do it," said Lisa Kennedy. "I heard 'Firework' and envisioned the song with MegaFlake. I decided to make MegaFlake the star. MegaFlake is one of a kind."
The snowflake features 22,000 lights, stands 25 feet tall by 25 feet wide and weighs in at about 700 pounds.
Scott Kennedy, a NASCAR fabricator, built the flake from scratch and included a TV antenna used in Christmas displays of his childhood.
The Kennedys' Christmas display features 93,400 lights controlled by 15 Light-O-Rama switch boxes and 240 channels of lights. The display begins with a mega-spiral tree to the left of their home, proceeds through strings of lights hung from roofline to the ground across the front of the house, with six arches, 15 mini-trees, 11 mini-snowflakes and the grand finale, MegaFlake, on the right.
It all began with two inflatable Christmas lawn decorations the couple bought in 2002.
The display grew into a Polar Bear ski slope of giant proportions, which sadly was brought down by a winter snow in 2009. The Kennedys produced their first music-and-dancing-lights display in 2008, which included the ski slope.
They started sketching in March, programming in June and hanging lights the day after Halloween. It took a full week to get the wiring right.
"There's got to be a lot of planning to do it right," Lisa Kennedy said.
So many people in years past wanted to give the Kennedys money for their lights - which they did not accept - that the couple decided to collect donations for the Humane Society of Iredell County. There is a box for donations of blankets, food, collars, leashes, cat litter, toys, crates or anything helpful for the Humane Society's animals.
"Our charity of choice has always been animal rescue," Lisa Kennedy said.
They have dogs and cats of their own, and all but one are rescue animals.
Lisa Kennedy's face lit up as she talked about Christmas Eve: "It's just so wonderful to hear what people say, to hear their stories. It reminds us of why we do this. If it brings joy to anyone, I'm all for it."