Windsor ‘Wonderland’

Published 9:29 am Thursday, December 2, 2010

How does one locate the Hoggard family’s Christmas lights in Windsor. Take US 17 Business North and look for the ‘glow.”

WINDSOR – The nightly “glow” from this Bertie County town at this time of the year means only one thing – Thurman Hoggard’s famous Christmas decorations are back on for another year.

Over the past 14 years, Hoggard and his family have seen carloads of individuals, perhaps numbering in the thousands, take a slow, leisurely trip around Dalton Drive in front of their residence to witness what has developed into one of the largest holiday attractions in northeastern North Carolina.

And no one does it better than the Hoggard family.

“We’re back on for another year,” Hoggard said during a Monday phone call to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. “I don’t know who gets a bigger kick out of this, us for putting them up or the big crowds that show up every year to see the lights.

“We hear a lot of ‘wows’; people are just amazed when they ride back here,” Hoggard added. “But what warms my heart the most and lets me know what we’re doing is worth all the effort is when I see the reaction on the faces of children.”

Those planning to view the display this year may note, if they so choose to count, that the number of miniature lights have increased once again. Hoggard said there are 425,000 lights, in addition to approximately 300 wooden displays and upwards to 70 holiday “blow-ups.”

“The display is bigger than last year’s,” Hoggard noted.

But of all the lights and displays, there’s one bearing special meaning.

Hoggard explained that the family’s annual outdoor Christmas decorations began with one simple wooden cut-out of an angel, a tribute to his daughter, Carolyn, who tragically lost her life in a 1991 traffic accident at the age of 16.

The Hoggard family warmly welcomes anyone to view the lights and displays. Their home is located off US 17 Business North, behind the Duck Thru convenience store across from the NC 305 (Cooper Hill Road) intersection.

There is no admission; however, a donation box is located along Dalton Drive to help the family offset their electric bill (the lights require multiple 200 amp power meters).

Hoggard said the displays are lit each day at dusk and will remain on until around 10 p.m. on weeknights.

“We keep them on longer on weekends or if we still see cars coming after 10 p.m. on weeknights,” Hoggard stressed. “And the closer it gets to December 25, the longer we’ll keep them on.”

You can’t miss it…just look for the glow.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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