Tradition continues

Published 2:02 pm Sunday, November 30, 2014

By Thadd White

Bertie Ledger-Advance

WINDSOR – It’s almost time to light up District 2.

Just one day after celebrating a time of thanks, the opportunity officially to begin the holiday season arrived yesterday (Friday) in Windsor.

That’s the day Herman and Therman Hoggard turn on more than 500,000 Christmas lights – something natives and those from up and down the Eastern Seaboard look forward to each year.

The display – which is located just off King Street on Dalton Drive – has been a holiday favorite for 17 seasons, and draws crowds from all over the world.

”We have spent a lot of time refurbishing all the lights this year,” Herman Hoggard said. “We believe the lights may be the brightest we’ve ever had.

”We still love it,” he added. “We have to if we spend the amount of time on it we do each year.”

Each year the Hoggard brothers spend most of 10 months working the display, whether it is setting up, taking down or performing simple maintenance of the large collection of Christmas lights and decorations.

Herman Hoggard said the work had been even more extensive this year with the refurbishing of lights as well as the addition of approximately 25,000 lights.

The display that now brightens the face of so many was born of tragedy. It began with the death of Therman Hoggard’s daughter, Carolyn, in 1991. Following her untimely death, an angel was created to represent Carolyn. It remains the centerpiece of a beautiful collection.

Just a few years later, Therman Hoggard began displaying lights in Windsor while Herman was putting on a similar display in Colonial Heights, Virginia.

In 2004, they combined the displays when Herman Hoggard returned to Windsor. He said the first year there were 50,000-60,000 lights on display. Just a few years later, they now will display 500,000 lights.

Herman Hoggard said there have been visitors from Australia, England, India and The Philippines. From the continental United States, there have been visitors from Seattle, Washington and Salt Lake City, Utah as well as every state along the Atlantic Seaboard.

”It’s a blessing,”” Herman Hoggard said. “We love talking to people.”

There is no admission charge to the Hoggards’ Christmas Wonderland of Lights, but donations are gladly accepted.

”It’s the only way we can pay the bills,” Herman Hoggard mused. “We are grateful that we always have had enough support to meet the expenses.”

The Christmas display is open Sunday through Thursday from 5-9 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 5-10 p.m.

This year’s display includes Christmas lights, handmade figurines, lighted arches, blowups, a Ferris Wheel and stuffed animals over seven acres of land.

(Thadd White is Editor of the Bertie Ledger-Advance. This story is published with his permission.)