Concord, California – A year of uncertainty has produced one thing area residents can count on—a spectacular holiday light show has returned to a normally quiet Concord neighborhood.
“I am glad for the cheers, but I am sorry for people having to wait to come home at night or those who are waiting for the attraction,’’ said Eric Hakes, owner of My Bug Zappers who has made this endeavor his calling for the past four years.
“It’s bittersweet. I feel badly about the traffic, and I am working with the Concord Police to come up with a solution,” he added.
Hakes estimates 5,000 adults and children a night having been rolling through in vehicles from 6-10 p.m.
An ever-evolving project
His daughter Ella, now 11, was the inspiration for this ever-evolving project, which Hakes noted even in the days leading up to Christmas this year was not quite finished as more tinsel characters and a black light fish tank were yet to be added to the display.
“It has a better Disney look than it has in the past years,” he said of the pink, blue, and white coloring on the castle creation.
This year they were in route to Disney for a work vacation when COVID-19 hit. When that happened, it gave this project new importance and urgency.
The work started Oct. 1, and it was done ahead of schedule as planning was better.
“This is an incredible thing. Thank you for doing this, we needed this,” said Hakes of the repeated sentiments expressed over and over again by visitors this year.
He lauded how polite the visitors have been and how they have adhered to the mask wearing protocols.
A special visitor
But for all those who come by to marvel in the display, there is one visitor in particular who warms Hakes’ heart and makes doing this project all the more important.
“She came the first year and she was going through chemo,” he said. The woman “was in a real low place.”
“She comes back every year. It’s heartwarming,” Hakes added.
How long the display will stay up this year is yet to be determined. Jan. 8 was the original date to end this year’s presentation. But, due to the unprecedented public response, Hakes said they will be re-evaluating that date after the holidays. They have taken to turning on the lights earlier at 4:30 p.m. or 5 p.m. to accommodate the crowds that continue to gather.
As this holiday tradition continues to grow, another challenge has come with it—where to store everything. In addition to the space under their house, warehouse space exists at the business’s home in Martinez.
“We are looking for a donor of storage space who might want to help us out,” Hakes said.
The house is located at 771 Terrapin Court in Concord, CA.