For Glenn Zior, 46, of Mount Airy, having to wait a few minutes to pull into his driveway during the holiday season is not uncommon.
“It can get pretty backed up,” he said. “Sometimes I have to wait 15 minutes to get into my driveway…. Each year it keeps getting bigger and bigger.”
Each year since 2009, Zior has covered his home on Festival Avenue in more than 20,000 Christmas lights.
This year the display — which runs from 6-10 p.m. now through Dec. 30 — includes over 45,000 lights and features a 30-foot tree, seven smaller trees, leaping arches and a 6-foot singing snowman. The automated display is also programmed to the timing of music broadcasted on 95.3 FM.
Zior first started creating Christmas light displays as a way to make the holiday special for his friends and neighbors. Since then the light show has attracted up to 1,000 people each day and has raised more than $2,000 for neglected and abused children.
Three years ago, Zior began using the display to raise money for the Maryland Court Appointed Special Advocates Association and the CASA of Frederick County. The two nonprofits work to ensure the rights of all children to safe and permanent homes.
Zior has volunteered with CASA for four years.
“In society if you had to pick a person at the bottom of the rung it would be foster children, they have no say…children don’t have a choice,” he said. “This helps [them].”
Zior is not the only one that is hoping to help a good cause during the holiday season.
Denise Morgan, 40, of Mount Airy has been creating “Shelbyville” — a miniature Christmas village in the backyard of her home on Harrison Street — for the past 15 years. Morgan started the village, named after her daughter Shelby, 17, as a way to create the magic of the season for her then 2-year-old daughter.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Morgan said of the display. “People just come and share Christmas with us.”
The village features a miniature toyshop, post office, kitchen and gift-wrapping room.
Now Morgan hopes to use the Christmas town, which will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. Dec.14 through 16, to bring holiday cheer to those in need.
Morgan is asking visitors to bring a canned food item to the display. The items will be donated to Mount Airy NET, a cooperative network of churches and civic organizations that provide support and services for those in need.
Like Zior, Darrell Tarte, 45, of Mount Airy has about 25,000 lights covering his home and yard on Eventide Court.
He opened his Christmas display to the public the day after Thanksgiving and plans to have it on each night from 6 to 10 p.m. until after New Year’s Day.
This is the fourth year that Tarte has created the display, which features a fishing Santa Claus. The free light show runs on 20-minute increments and is synchronized with music broadcasted on 107.1 FM.
Tarte said he organized his display to spread holiday cheer and isn’t collecting any donations.
“If one or two people get enjoyment out of it that’s great,” Tarte said. “I just do it to get enjoyment out of [the holiday] season.”