OTTOVILLE - When Megan and Matt Fiedler were looking for a new home a couple years ago, they had one thing in mind: location, location, location.

They bought their home at the corner of East Main (State Route 224) and Winkelman Streets in Ottoville, knowing it would be a great location for their annual display of Christmas lights.

They had put out lights at their home in the country for three years, but not many people were able to appreciate their 26,000 incandescent-animated light exhibit.

Matt had to rethink his strategy when the family moved to town in 2012. "The power company wouldn't let me add another box," he chuckled.

He wanted color and control, so he switched to LED (light-emitting diode) lights. He purchased a couple thousand of the LED's directly from a manufacturer in China. Each LED is red, green, and blue, and is able to make a combination of colors. A pixel megatree completed the display. His packages arrived in mid-November, so although he had a nice display, it was not complete. He added background music that visitors could access through 101.1 FM, but he wanted more detail. Matt began planning for 2013 right after Christmas.

This year, he sequenced the music, so that the lights pulse in time to the songs' beat. Visitors can experience the multi-sensory display by tuning in to 101.1 FM. He has programmed five songs, thus far, including "Jingle Bells," "Carol of the Bells," and Megan's favorite, "White Christmas." Each song takes six to eight hours to sequence. He also added electric luminarias, arches, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus peeking out the front windows. Matt is proud that he has built the entire display himself. He has gotten much advice and direction from two web sites, doityourselfchristmas.com and auschristmaslighting.com, and recommends those sites for anyone who is interested in creating their own display. Matt's exhibit is run from three controllers and a computer. The lights are attached to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes; he was able to construct the exhibit in less than two weeks' time. He continually tweaks the show, making improvements throughout the season. His family is supportive of his lighting obsession. "Megan is very easy with me," he smiled. "I laid awake for two nights, because I had an idea for a sleigh." The couple's daughter, Bela, has even gotten in on the act.

"I helped punch out the dots (on the luminaries)," she smiled shyly.

The family will not go into debt to pay their electric bill. "Everybody always asks me that," Matt laughed. "Our bill might go up $10-$20 a month, because the LEDs are energy-efficient."

The Fiedlers posted a donation box; this year, all monies collected will be given to Ottoville Boy Scout Troop 266. Matt had fond memories of being a Boy Scout. "I'm hoping the money will help give another kid the same joy and experiences I had," he commented.

The family's lighting escapades can be followed on Facebook, at Fiedler Family Christmas.

story created on Monday 12/23/2013 at 10:52:24 am by Nancy Kline
story modified on Tuesday 12/24/2013 at 2:21:17 pm by Ed G