Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Dan and Heidi Bobzin’s home on north School Street in Braidwood is alive again this year with a holiday lights display that's been the talk of Braidwood.
Marney Simon
Staff writer

Editors note - this article originally ran on Dec. 21, 2016. Following interest in the display, we've reposted last year's story with information about the home, which has the display running again this year. Part of the article has been edited. The radio station where you can listen while watching the light display is posted in front of the home.

‘Tis the season for festive moments.

And nothing brings out the excitement of the holidays like a drive around town to take in light displays both big and small that decorate the homes and lawns in Braidwood.

It’s not just the light display that draws people out to Dan and Heidi Bobzin’s home on north School Street.

The 2016 winners of the Braidwood Fire Sirens annual holiday lights contest, the display seems to actually spring to life as lights dance away to music broadcast on FM radio. Both the home and the yard are covered in roughly 20,000 lights that twinkle to the beat. Putting up that display begins with a planning process that the Bobzin’s tackle as early as February. Then after Halloween, it’s time to untangle those lights and get them up.

“Sometimes we question our sanity,” Heidi laughed. “When we first started this we had just had a baby, and I remember getting so aggravated! It’s one of those things you question when you’re doing it, ‘why are we doing this?’ But then once it’s done you see how much joy it brings to everybody, and it’s worth it.”

The family uses about one mile of extension cords to support the light display.

“For every minute of music that you watch, it took three hours of planning,” Heidi said.

The family downloads a mix of songs that they picked out and transmits them over an FM transmitter.

“Every beat, every little twinkle you see that flashes, every tree that moves, every arch, everything, it’s all us programming it to the beat,” Heidi said.

The songs aren’t all holiday music. One is the song that was playing when Dan proposed to Heidi; one is their son’s favorite song; one is a song that they would play when rocking their daughter to sleep. In addition to those favorites and

Christmas tunes, the lights also dance to the music of the musical “Grease,” the song “Gangnam Style,” and even some selections from “P!nk.”

“There’s meaning in all the songs,” Heidi said. “There’s about 45 minutes worth of music.”

 This is the first time the Bobzins have hooked up the display at their new home, but they’re no strangers to an elaborate yard display this time of year. They’ve been putting up the lights for five years now, starting when Heidi bought Dan a pre-programmed kit that lights up homes to music on a smaller scale. Dan liked it so much, it grew to their own specialized project. The couple even considered the display when they decided to move from a one-story to a two-story home.

“When people are looking at houses to buy, many people say, oh, that’s a nice house,” Heidi said. “No. We thought, well if we do Christmas lights, will this work!”

Heidi said sometimes her own family will head out to look at lights, and stop to watch the fun in front of their own home while they are at it.

“We try to keep it sane for our neighbors because sometimes it can get a little crazy in front of our house, but it’s kind of a hidden gem though,” Heidi said. “The people who do know it, they visit frequently.”

The light display can be found each night throughout the season at the Bobzin home, at 822 N. School St. in Braidwood.

“It really warms our hearts when people appreciate it,” Heidi said. “It really truly does bring joy to some people. If you can get in your car and you can watch some Christmas lights. And that can bring you some joy, that’s really what it’s all about.”