Saskatchewan

Real-life Clark Griswold Christmas display with 30K lights destroyed by truck

Inspired by the character Clark Griswold from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Trevor Allen set out to create an unforgettable Christmas light show. On Tuesday night, he awoke to a big black truck razing part of his creation.

Trevor Allen spent hundreds of hours constructing handmade Christmas light show

Trevor Allen shared a photo of the front yard light show just hours before it was taken out by a black truck. (Trevor Allen/Facebook)

The sound of something crashing made Trevor Allen jump. He hurried to the window of his Regina home and surveyed the wreckage of his handmade holiday props. 

"I saw a big black truck backing off the lawn and then peeling away," Allen said.

It left behind flattened pieces that support his Christmas light show — an ambitious project that sees light dance in time with carefully curated music. 

Allen said he builds everything himself using 3D printing, wood and other hardware store items. This year, he averaged about five hours each night in his garage from August until December. 

"The fence alone took me six weeks just to build. The mini-trees that were run over, those were about a month and a half of building," he said. 

"It's non-stop and over the last few years I've put in well over a thousand hours of actually building and sequencing the music."

He said it can take up to eight hours to synchronize a 10-second sound byte. The music is transmitted on FM radio, so drivers can tune in as they pass. 

Allen said he was first inspired by Clark Griswold — from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation — to create a display that could delight. He also used to operate a DJ company so he has skills with light and sound. 

Trevor Allen takes pride in his holiday light show that he controls with care. The former DJ has always enjoyed working with lights and sound. (Kendall Latimer/CBC)

He created his first display with small snowflake-shaped lights. Last year, he stepped it up to 9,000 LED lights and this year he went big with more than 30,000 — all installed one by one. 

Allen said the community support has been overwhelming. He said people have often expressed support for the show he puts on in the neighbourhood. 

"Throughout the summer, I've been working on the yard and people stop come over to shake my hand and [they] thank me for making their Christmas," he said.

Trevor Allen is hopeful a version of his holiday show will dance again by the weekend's end. (Kendall Latimer/CBC)

Allen said he has filed a police report. He doesn't believe what happened was purposeful vandalism.

"I think they were out of control. ... There are signs of them driving recklessly, fish tailing around the neighbourhood, and they lost control and they came in and then took off." 

Allen said he plans to rebuild and the show will go on.  As for lessons learned, he joked that he probably should consider building his new props out of concrete. 

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