Since Christmas 2006, all has been quiet on White Sand Drive. There's been no music, no lights, no displays. Various timing issues and trips away prevented us from lighting up our corner of St. Pete for both the 2007 and 2008 holiday seasons. This year, however, everything changed: we showed what a fresh attitude and group of willing volunteers can let you achieve. This is the story of our 2009 light show.

Various 'leftovers,' the results of a major construction push by James and fellow electronic engineer Peter, lay dormant from the time of their building in the summer of 2007 - the year in which they were intended to be used - for nearly two years. Something had to be done. Putting their heads together, Chris and James hatched a plan; one that involved as little hassle and construction time as possible, and was suitable for inauguration that Thanksgiving. In a nutshell, the idea was to prepare the display's elements in such ways as to make their assembly as quick and pain-free as possible, and to acquire a group of willing volunteers to actually set the lights up.

Those volunteers came in the form, mainly, of Chris' students from USF St. Petersburg, and they worked tirelessly on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 November to turn the display from plan to reality. I, James, am especially grateful to our volunteers, who made up a team of eleven in total, for their hard work and dedication, especially given that a lot of their tasks were boring and repetitive!

On Wednesday 25 November I flew home from London to do some last-minute tweaking and make sure that everything was working properly ahead of the 'lighting up' ceremony on Friday 27. Surrounded by friends and neighbours, it happened, right on schedule, at 6 o'clock that night - for the first time in three years, the lights danced. We were back.

For your viewing pleasure, we present Light Up Florida 2009: in single-angle and multi-angle formats. Photos are, of course, also available.

Let there be light.

Did you know?
Our 2010 display featured 39,529 lights.

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