Traditionally, the day after Halloween is reserved for putting away costumes, taking down decorations, and bouncing back from a sugar crash. For Cherryland members Dale and Sandy Herman, that day is reserved for work that would put Santa’s elves to shame.
For the last 40 years, the Herman’s have spent the month of November setting up one of the most elaborate Christmas light displays in the Grand Traverse region. To date, they estimate that they own and display 600 different holiday-themed light features on their Suttons Bay property.
“It all started in the late ‘70s when I built a big star out of some wire, put lights on it, and hung it on my house, knowing it could be seen from M-22,” said Dale Herman. “Then it started growing.”
From snowmen to Santa Clauses to Nativity sets, the Herman’s began acquiring features from stores, garage sales, online, and even friendly passers-by. They now own enough that it literally fills their garage floor to ceiling.
“This time of year, my job, twice a week, is to check the stores for new features,” chuckled Herman.
The Herman’s estimate that it takes approximately 240 hours to set up the Christmas display. And they do it under a tight deadline.
“Our goal is the Sunday after Thanksgiving our family will gather to watch us turn the lights on,” said Herman.
Through the holidays, the Herman’s welcome visitors from all over the region (and the world!) to stroll through their Winter Wonderland. Many evenings they draw a crowd.
“Most days of the week, when I leave work and get home at 5 p.m., there will be people waiting on our road for the lights to come on.”
Between the time and resources it takes to buy, install, repair, and run the light features, the Herman’s light display is not an easy (or cheap) undertaking. But that hasn’t stopped them and there are no plans to in the future.
“We enjoy sitting in the house and hearing the little kids out there running and screaming and just laughing, enjoying everything out there in the yard,” said Herman. “It’s worth it for the people.”
The Herman’s welcome you visit their Christmas light display this holiday season! They can be found at 10780 E. Murray Ct. in Suttons Bay.