Sunday, July 13, 2014

Holiday tradition back to LIGHT

February 19. 2013 8:35PM
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For nearly 30 years, a large holiday lighting display free to the community at the residence of June and Tom Kukuchka in Tunkhannock was a tradition.

Anything that could hold a Christmas light would have one on it, their son Kevin Kukuchka, 38, of Tunkhannock, said. After the first couple years, and a few blown fuses, we figured out just so many lights we could use.

We always had a lot of fun doing it.

According to Kukuchka, as the children began to grow and move away, the tradition started to fade.

Over the years, unfortunately it started to die down to smaller displays and eventually the house was blocked by the family's business, Creekside Garders, when it was built 16 years ago, Kukuchka said.

Kevin Kukuchka first started to help set up the family display when he was about 10 and always got satisfaction from the joy the lights provided to members of the community.

I enjoyed just being out there doing it, he said. Tunkhannock is a small community, it was even smaller back then, and when we would go out for breakfast, people would always tell us how much they enjoy the lights, and that they would bring their children and grandchildren to see them.

I think sharing the holiday spirit with so many people is really a great thing.

Kukuchka believes the tradition is traced back to his grandfather, George.

He always had a really nice display, Kukuckha said. The centerpiece was a nativity scene and he had the big bulb Christmas lights and cutouts in the yard. I think it trickled down from there.

According to Kukuckha, the display at Creekside Gardens brings back fond memories for Julie Novack, who runs the store's gift shop.

She told me that when she was young, her parents took her on holiday lights tours, and would always save our house for the grand finale, he said.

Kukuckha explained that he first discussed bringing back the holiday display with his younger brother, Jeffrey, at a family gathering in July.

Jeffrey was the engineer of the project, Kukuchka said. He started doing research on how to set up the computer software, including for the Four Firs, a singing quartet of lights mounted on a greenhouse that plays holiday songs Monday through Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m.

The entire display, which includes nearly 40,000 lights, is lit from dusk to 10 p.m. and will run through New Year's Eve night. Plans are already in the works to make the display bigger and better in the future.

Along with the help of Kevin's parents, wife Sherri, brother Jeffrey and wife Jenilee, brother Eric and his wife Gretchen and their son Grayson, 8, and members of the Creekside Gardens staff, the project became a reality.

We worked four days into the evening to set up the display, he said.

Despite the long hours, the work was an enjoyable experience for the group.

We were like a bunch of kids running around with a sparkle in our eyes, Kevin Kukuchka said.

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