Lighting up the neighbourhood for a terrific cause

Every year, the Maruk family puts up an amazing Christmas lights show

For a spectacular Christmas lights show here in Stettler – that has grown into a hugely popular seasonal tradition – check out the Maruk home located at 4209 – 63rd St.

Show times start at 6 p.m. and run until 10 p.m. Food bank donations are also welcome!

“I actually started this in 2014,” explained Steve Maruk. “I used to work overseas, and I was missing Christmas, so I was watching some videos and saw these lights on YouTube. I’m watching all of this, and was thinking about how it could all go together.”

He started tracking down equipment, bringing much of it up initially from the U.S.

“I started out the first year with one controller. It ties into a signal adapter and then it ‘talks’ to your lap top,” he explained of the intricate process. “Everything is controlled from the lap top and each channel of light is plugged into this controller – and away you go!

“The next year, I thought, this isn’t enough,” he added with a laugh. “And we had so much traffic on that first year, we thought we should take advantage of that and do something for the community. So we started donating to the food bank. We put a bin out front and put the word out there – if you are coming by and you like the lights, maybe bring a non-perishable donation.

“During that second year, it was really good. We were taking truckloads of food down there,” he recalled.

“The year after that, I got another controller – I’m up to 64 channels this year. I’ve got four controllers. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you get it all going you can do some pretty cool things with it.

“And this year, I’m venturing into the realm of the pixel lights so now I can control each individual bolt. It’s going to be amazing – it’s going to be the coolest effect. I can’t wait to see it!”

He also pointed out that he lost count at around 5,000 bulbs.

Maruk also explained that his son Gage, nine, has also run a hot chocolate stand and donated the proceeds to the Children’ Hospital in Calgary.

“And one year, with all the money that he made, he donated all of the money towards the purchase of toys for the Ronald McDonald House.”

Meanwhile, Steve is continually adding to his amazing light show year by year, purchasing equipment in the spring to add to the display the following Christmas season. He loves seeing the community’s enthusiastic reaction to the display.

“One lady told me, ‘I come here every night’,” he said. “She was even out once dancing in the street. She said it’s the highlight of her day,” he explained, smiling. “Some people come and just unwind. And the kids just love it, and their parents tell me their kids won’t let them go home after they pick them up – ‘We have to drive by your house!’

“So it’s fun. It draws such a pile of attention, which we can use for the good and help out the community a little bit. Helping out people is the best thing to do.”

Maruk said he usually runs the lights right through Christmas, then he shut them down for a few days.

“And then on New Year’s I’ll run some fun stuff, too.”

For more information, check out ‘Maruk Family Christmas Lights’ on Facebook.

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