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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Townsend couple goes 'Peanuts' with Christmas lights

  • In the realm of Christmas decorations, Kenny and Loretta Getty are the king and queen in their neighborhood, and this year their kingdom is a comical one.
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  • In the realm of Christmas decorations, Kenny and Loretta Getty are the king and queen in their neighborhood, and this year their kingdom is a comical one.
    At their home on Fieldsboro Road near Townsend, the Gettys often receive friendly waves from strangers marveling at the display of Christmas lights and decorations in their yard. Each year, the Gettys pick a theme to inspire the scenes, and this year's choice is Sunday comics.
    The Gettys shed some light into their annual production that draws waves of visitors.
    Q How long have you been doing this?
    KENNY Six years, since 2006
    Q What motivated you to get creative with your display of Christmas lights?
    KENNY When I was little, I always looked up to the lights. So in 2006, I started putting a bunch of lights up. But it's nowhere near what we're doing now.
    LORETTA I actually had no idea that he was like Clark Griswold.
    KENNY I always had it in me! I didn't go crazy until we bought our own house in 2006. Before that we were renters and didn't really decorate.
    Q How long does it take to decorate the place?
    KENNY It takes about three months, off-and-on. Loretta's drawings take a long time; she has to draw out the characters and I have to cut it out.
    LORETTA I have to draw it out, paint it and then it's cut out and lacquered.
    Q Do you know how many lights you have on display this year?
    KENNY About 52,000.
    Q And how many lights have you amassed over the years?
    KENNY About 1 million.
    Q So how much does your electricity bill increase in December?
    LORETTA It just about doubles.
    KENNY Last December it was around $250. Normally we're around $150 a month, so it's not that much.
    LORETTA We have a small house.
    Q How did this year's theme come about?
    LORETTA We always wanted to do "Peanuts" from the Charlie Brown Christmas, and my mom actually said, "What if you take it a step further and do Sunday comics?" I said what do you mean? And she said, "You know, like Ziggy, Calvin & Hobbs."
    Q What themes have you done in the past?
    Page 2 of 2 - KENNY The first year we began doing themes was in 2008 and we did Candy Land, like the kid's board game.
    LORETTA In 2009, our theme was the Grinch and other Dr. Seuss characters. In 2010 we did Rudolph from the clay animation film.
    KENNY And in 2011 we did Candy Land again. But we added more to it.
    Q You usually launch the lightshow on Thanksgiving night?
    KENNY It's a big family tradition here.
    LORETTA There's like 60 people out on our front lawn waiting for the lights to go on.
    KENNY There's a timer in the basement and we have to wait for it to kick on. So the last couple of years it was off by 10 minutes because of a power failure a couple of days before. It was set for 6:30 p.m.
    Q What sort of timer do you have?
    KENNY There's an industrial timer in the basement.
    Q Loretta, is it true that Christmas lights played a role in Kenny's marriage proposal to you?
    LORETTA It was the first year we moved into our house and he was like, "I've always wanted a big family dinner." And I'm like, "The size of our house cannot hold many people." But we decided we'll try to make it work. So we had 25 people in this little, tiny 1,000-square-foot ranch house.
    KENNY It was ridiculous.
    LORETTA It was that year that he wanted to make it a tradition of lighting up the house; and he said, "Come on everybody, let's go outside." The house was lit up and another light showed up on the roof our house and it said: "Loretta will you marry me?" And it worked. How could you say no to that?!

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