‘Lighting Up Paxton’ display returns for the first time since 2019

PAXTON, Ill. (WCIA) – “It’s grown now to over 140,000 Christmas lights. That’s what you see on the house this year,” Victor Johnson said.

It’s beginning to look – and sound – a lot like Christmas at the Johnson house.

“We’ve always been known around Paxton as the Christmas light house when I was younger. After I put it to music though, we got a lot more people from out of town that started hearing about it. It kind of blew up on social media,” Johnson said. “On the weekends before Christmas, I’ll start directing traffic because it starts backing up intersections.”

Johnson has been passionate about creating dazzling light displays since he was only eight years old. After graduating college, he took his parents’ house to the next level.

“I actually have a small radio transmitter that broadcasts just to this little area in our neighborhood. That’s how you listen to the music in your car,” he said.

He decided to synchronize the lights to classic holiday tunes.

“I realized – this really isn’t that difficult, I might be able to pull this off,” he said.

He spent many late nights researching computer programs, and thousands of dollars on his collection of lights.

But in terms of growing it even bigger…

“It’s something I really wish I could do, it’s just – the scale of it is so significant now that I don’t know how I could make it any bigger without just taking 3 months off of work,” Johnson said.

Even now, Johnson sets aside time from October through as late as March. He said that’s why it’s not an annual tradition. Last year, the house needed renovations. In 2020, he got married.

“It’s something that I married into and something that I enjoy doing too,” Sarah Johnson said.

Sarah Johnson said it’s exciting to watch her husband do something he loves, and provide something for the community to enjoy.

“It’s just a good feeling. It’s a warm, fuzzy feeling,” Sarah Johnson said.

Children, families, strangers – they all line up down the block for that same fuzzy feeling. The Johnsons say that’s what makes all their hard work worth it.

If you’d like to see the display for yourself, Johnson is asking visitors not to block driveways, to keep intersections clear, turn off your headlights when parked, and make sure to tune your car radio to 89.9 FM so you can hear the music. It’s located at 332 W Patton Street in Paxton until early January. The lights turn on at 5 p.m. every day and turn off at 10. On Fridays and Saturdays, they stay on until 11.

For more updates, you can visit the “Lighting Up Paxton” website or follow them on social media.

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