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Old 11-22-2008, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,730 posts, read 10,938,347 times
Reputation: 6450

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I was going to start a thread about this anyway, when I read the Enquirer articles about the "Santa" in North College Hill whose illness will keep him from handing out candy canes this year. His house and yard will still have one of the biggest decoration-and-light shows in the Tri-State, though, and from the sound of things the tradition is in no danger of ending. The Goyguy family always makes that display, along Galbraith Rd a few blocks west of Hamilton Ave, one of its stops on their annual Over-the-Top Holiday Lights tour. The Zapf house is jokingly referred to as The East Pole, for farther along Galbraith - just ahead of Pippin Rd - is yet another holiday show run amok. What's normally a typical Colerain Township brick Cape Cod house out of the '50's is bedecked with lights, its front yard crammed with wooden and inflatable figures and its garage transformed into a Santa's Village complete with operating electric trains. Canned holiday music wafts over everything. It's a sensory delight worthy of giving that property the title The West Pole.
The residents of Huffman Court, a blocklong cul-de-sac in Springfield Township off Compton Rd just west of Winton, have been trying to outdo each other in the nighttime holiday show department for years. No one display is as spectacular as either of the Poles, but they all shine brightly and have plenty of original touches.
Meanwhile, over in much-maligned Lockland, a wire with a big electric star at its center is strung across the middle of a block on Home Ave. When the star is lit, so are the outdoor displays at the surrounding houses, one of which has easily earned "Over-the-Top" distinction every year. Take Cooper Ave north from Wyoming Ave, past the high school, and watch to your left. No way you can miss this show, but that neighborhood goes to sleep early and often the "off" switch is flipped by 9 PM.

I salute the homeowners who put forth all that effort, and foot the whopping electric bill, annually. For the most part they have no way of knowing how much their labor is appreciated. Young kids are struck speechless, while their elders watch their reactions and hark back to the days when they, too, were that easily bedazzled. I lap all the glitz and schmaltz right up, m'self.

The down side to all this is, Over-the-Top-Holiday-Lights shows are getting more and more scarce. The best ones are always in parts of the city and suburbs that aren't affluent to begin with. (Imagine the uproar in Glendale, Mt Lookout, or Madeira if anybody dared deviate from the accepted formula of a single electric candle in each window or a string of "icicle lights" across the eaves. "I waited three minutes, THREE MINUTES, to pull out of my driveway the other night - and there was a PICKUP TRUCK in the line of traffic! This gaudiness wreaks havoc with the exclusivity of our neighborhood and will be ruinous to property values! We are here to present a petition demanding that these residents be issued a citation!") The poor employment situation in the Tri-State, and the reduction in circumstances of far too many blue-collar housesholds, means the plug has to be pulled on extravagances like outdoor holiday lights. On top of that, folks who delivered Over-the-Top illuminated magic for decades are moving away - or dying - without successors. All the more reason to bundle up the kids, hop in the vehicle, and roll over to one of the locations I've mentioned or to whichever is your favorite. This year, put some $$$ in an envelope and drop it in the mailbox at each house - that's what I plan to do.

Time to chime in with Over-the-Top-Holiday-Lights sites to add to my list! Throw in memories of displays past, too. For me, those include:

The Duffy residence, on the west side of Embassy Dr in Forest Park where it intersects with West Sharon Rd (owners relocated out of state);
The Rudd Farm in Adams County - mother of Over-the-Top shows. Entire hillsides were taken over by Christmas angels, Santa's elves, you name it. There was even tour-bus parking and a gift shop. (Owners sold land due to ailing patriarch);
The Riddle Rd "train house" in Clifton (owner died);
15 North Ave in Wyoming - a display that belied this town's snooty reputation, worthy of Over-the-Top honors (owners relocated.)
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:37 PM
 
4 posts, read 22,689 times
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Bill Zapf (Santa in NCH) is ill? Oh no.

I grew up with those people, and until she married, his grand-daughter was one of my best friends. Does anyone know them and what is wrong with him?
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Old 11-25-2008, 11:23 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,730 posts, read 10,938,347 times
Reputation: 6450
He has inoperable pancreatic cancer, so the outlook's not good :-(
You can do a search by his name on cincinnati.com for the articles - they hit last week.
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:30 AM
 
561 posts, read 1,780,019 times
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Are there any places relatively intown (i.e. city limits-ish) where people do over-the-top light displays?

I've noticed lots of nice lights going up around the eastside, although they are all very understated and tasteful so far ... not that there's anything wrong with that
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,193 posts, read 57,331,348 times
Reputation: 52047
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe 4520832257 View Post
I've noticed lots of nice lights going up around the eastside, although they are all very understated and tasteful so far ... not that there's anything wrong with that
Well, then ... Go to the west side! There are a couple of houses going up the hill on Montana that, in the past, have required sunglasses for viewing.

A friend's neighbor in Walton used to do the whole shebang, stopping just short of shorting out the entire subdivision , but the last couple of years the cost of electricity has hit him hard and he's scaled down.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,730 posts, read 10,938,347 times
Reputation: 6450
There was a blurb in the Enquirer last Friday about a display in Morrow that's so big you can do a drive-thru tour, but no mention of the address. I'm supposing it's on or near Route 22/3, anybody know more?
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Old 12-23-2008, 05:40 AM
 
Location: Hartwell--IN THE City of Cincinnati
1,055 posts, read 3,562,797 times
Reputation: 904
Quote:
Originally Posted by SainterThom View Post
Bill Zapf (Santa in NCH) is ill? Oh no.

I grew up with those people, and until she married, his grand-daughter was one of my best friends. Does anyone know them and what is wrong with him?
Here is a recent article about Bill Zapf for those who did not know he passed away.
Farewell, Santa Z | Cincinnati Enquirer | Cincinnati.Com
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:44 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,730 posts, read 10,938,347 times
Reputation: 6450
"'tis the season," so I'm bringing this thread back out for air!
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Old 12-12-2009, 10:48 AM
 
6,351 posts, read 18,889,368 times
Reputation: 9895
Many thanks, Goy Guy, for starting and re-igniting this "fire"!!! We just might have to bundle up, stop at a snooty coffee joint enroute and head down to Hamco to see some good Christmas displays! (even up here in Centerville/ Washington Twp. people have GREATLY scaled back...sigh)
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Old 12-12-2009, 04:28 PM
 
Location: A voice of truth, shouted down by fools.
1,086 posts, read 2,223,432 times
Reputation: 894
Default Big light display "near Morrow"

Quote:
Originally Posted by goyguy View Post
There was a blurb in the Enquirer last Friday about a display in Morrow that's so big you can do a drive-thru tour, but no mention of the address. I'm supposing it's on or near Route 22/3, anybody know more?
See: The Christmas Ranch - Celebrate the season while benefiting charitable organizations

We went last night. The idea is that it's an old dude ranch (western style buildings) decorated with thousands of lights and with lots of elaborate displays. The lights are similar to the ones at Clifton Gorge, they are synchronized with music like Mannheim Steamroller. (I called it "the lights at Clifton without the gorge. ) It's off the highway, about 2 miles outside Morrow.
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