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The most wonderful display of the year

House in Barrie’s south end features Christmas lights set to music
123 violet
The display at 123 Violet lights up again this weekend (Photo provided)

To put on a Christmas lights display, coordinated with music, for several hours a night during the holiday season, takes more than a hunk of hydro. It takes planning, money, and a mountain – nay, mountain ranges – of patience from your neighbours.

Dino Sangiuliano has been turning his home at 123 Violet St. in Barrie’s south end into a Hollywood opening for years now, and the next season begins this Saturday night.

Dino tells BarrieToday he originally never bothered with decorations in the house, but “wanted to make a statement because we were losing all of our heritage to too much political correctness. Then I saw some crazy display on television and I said, 'I can try to do something like that.' I have the knowledge and one of my hobbies is electronics.”

Sangiuliano said his attitude picked up with the reaction of folks who came by raving about the display. “I have had many people tell me that the display has put them in the Christmas spirit. It is a really good feeling when you see all the happy faces because of something you did and Christmas is a time of giving so this was my way of giving back to the people.”

The “movement” of the lights is coordinated with music (that people can hear in their cars by tuning in 92.7 FM on the radio). Dino says his first display used a mere 16 channels, each consisting of an extension cord and set of lights, to which he kept adding channels until they numbered 160.

“To give you an idea, my mega-tree consists of 4,800 channels on its own. So, now the display is into the thousands of channels. This makes programming very complex, so, of course, I had to keep upgrading my software every year. That is why I always keep using all the songs I have used in the past as every time I add new lights, I have to reprogram the song to incorporate the changes.”

Dino isn’t into competitions with other homes and other towns.

“The city did approach me and asked if I would participate in the Winter Lights competition where cities compete. I thought it was for a good cause to promote the city not my display, so I agreed to let them use my display. I believe the second year, when the city brought the judges to my home, the City of Barrie won the Winter Lights competition that year and I believe Barrie stopped entering since they won,” he says with a laugh.  

Reaction of the neighbours has been “excellent”, to hear Dino say it, even to the point of helping out with the display. Dino also says his neighbours have been soothed by his urging the dozens of drivers invading Violet Street to shut their lights off when parked.

“This would be a great time to thank all my neighbours for being very patient and helpful during the Christmas season.”

The display also features a donation box hanging on the tree on the boulevard, with proceeds to Make-A-Wish.  

But hydro costs, as all Ontarians know, have only gone up, which means the display gets more expensive to run.

“Since all my lights are all LED it really helps in keeping the cost down. But the way the price Hydro has gone up over the years, the cost to run in the display keeps going up.”

This Saturday night’s opening at 8 p.m. will also feature fireworks, Sangiuliano being a licensed pyrotechnician.

The house is located at 123 Violet St., near Marsellus and Mapleview. To learn more, please click here.