There’s Christmas light displays, and then there’s the 12-minute extravaganza of coordinated lights and music that Robert Martinez has produced at his home on Sierra Avenue in Clovis.
Where else will you find a combination of religious, contemporary, and retro, all rolled into one show? (And by retro, I mean “Dominick the Donkey,” surely a golden oldie.)
Such highly choreographed displays don’t happen overnight. Martinez, whose day job is to teach electrical systems technology at Fresno City College, started planning for the show back in May with song selections from his wife Anna (who nominated “Dominick the Donkey”) and daughters Zara (“Underneath the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson) and Raina (“Rockin Around the Christmas Tree”) to accompany his own selection, “God Is An Awesome God.”
The work starts on his computer, where Martinez maps out how the lights will correspond to both the mood and tempo of the music selections.
His Biggest Show Yet
This year’s is the largest light show he’s ever done, with 5,000 pixels spread on 32 props, for a total of 15,000 LEDs. Building and wiring the props pretty much took the whole month of November so that the light show would be ready by this week.
Visitors can tune their car stereo to a low-frequency channel, 100.1 FM, to get the full impact of the music selections that also can be heard in yard speakers.
Martinez said he was surprised by the response he got when he posted an announcement on the online social platform Nextdoor about the light show that has garnered hundreds of likes or loves so far and dozens of comments thanking him for his efforts.
In years past, Martinez’s yard display has been mostly about lighting up a 15-foot tree. But this year, with the coronavirus pandemic weighing us all down, he wanted to do something special for the community.
His yard display at 356 W. Sierra Ave., not far from the Candy Cane Lane neighborhood at Peach and Alluvial avenues in Clovis, is up and running each night from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and will stay up through New Year’s.
Looking for Christmas Lights? Here’s a Map
It’s one of the yard light displays featured on the D.I.Y. Christmas Lights Tour map, which also includes the noteworthy northwest Fresno display on Dovewood Lane.
The tour is a Fresno Street Eats project sponsored by Granville Homes. Granville’s CEO Darius Assemi is publisher of GV Wire.
Martinez is not sure how much electricity he’s using for the nightly shows. Some of it is solar powered, but he’s on the grid for the remainder.
And if it costs an extra $500 a month? If the Christmas lights bring as much joy to the community as it’s brought to his family, he says “it’s all worth it.”
D.I.Y. Christmas Lights Tour