It’s not just people in big metropolitan areas that have the holiday wonder of putting the family in the car and driving through neighborhoods to view the lights after dark or that have the voices of carolers romping through the community. Last week about 50 2nd graders from Mt. View Elementary were spreading their voice of angels around the community. Outside the Kenai Visitor & Cultural Center Kim Bates, 2nd teacher at Mt. View told the Dispatch, “Last year we decided we wanted to spread some good cheer and kindness which was the goal for our whole school so the 2nd grade teachers decided caroling would be a good thing to do so we started last year and it has grown into a tradition from there. We had four classes caroling and we ordered the big bus ahead of time, the businesses in town were very flexible so we just load up the big bus and start caroling,” said Bates.
Over in Soldotna down Heinrich Street off Redoubt near the Catholic Church you’ll find the Hale house. The home of retired CES Fire Marshall Gary Hale and his wife “Mrs. Claus” sometimes known as Sharon. Hale has been lighting up for Christmas for nearly 30 years, but this year with retirement time on his hands he took the display to a new level of brilliance. “I missed doing it one year and oh my word did I ever hear about it. I got phone calls on my cell from folks worried that I was sick or asking if I needed help and I said no we’re in California this year for Christmas but thanks for asking, so I caught a lot of flak that year for not decorating,” laughed Hale, who is solely responsible for the outside of the house while Sharon brings the inside to life like a Macey’s show room. “I really enjoy it and put a lot of work into it. I’m a one man operation and it takes about 30 days working four of five hours a day to set it up and get it all synced with about 200 hundred extension cords. HEA and Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware love me because I always need something or other. Usually we are still putting things up a couple days before Christmas but thanks to retirement Sharon and I are done two weeks ahead inside and out and everything is operating perfectly,” he said.
By synced Hale means the music that the lights dance to which he broadcasts on his private FM radio station so you can enjoy the show from the warmth of your car, “It’s a system I bought a few years ago called Christmas in a Box so that I don’t bother the neighbors with outdoor loud speakers. It’s wonderful and all you have to do is tune your car radio to 98.3 FM and enjoy,” he explained. Hale says he lights his yard at around 5:00pm daily and leaves it on until about 11:00pm and will keep the show up until New Year’s Day. “But on Christmas Eve to accommodate those attending Midnight Mass at the Catholic Church and Santa of course, I’ll leave it on until 1:00am or so,” added Hale.