David Richards and his wife Janean, from Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory, held the record for most lights on a residential property in 2011 when they decorated their home and property with 331,038 Christmas lights. Having sworn to never again undertake such a labour-intensive record attempt, 12 months later David discovered his record had been broken by the Gay family from Lagrangeville, New York, with 346,283 lights.
The purpose of the family's original attempt was to raise money for charity SIDS and Kids. Over $78,000 was made from the tens of thousands of visitors to the Richards house, some even flying in from overseas. Those funds meant two new counsellors could be employed to help families that had lost a child through SIDS.
But David says when his record was broken, the inspiration to win it back took on a new dimension.
“Suddenly I had twice the drive,” he says. “I’d be raising more money for SIDS and Kids and winning back our record at the same time. With over half a million lights on our house, breaking the current record by over 150,000, I hope we’ll hold the record for longer than we did last time and raise even more money for SIDS and Kids. On the downside, my neighbours will think I’m just a tiny bit crazier…”
On November 23, 2013, the Richards family switched on their stunning new light spectacular. The display of 502,165 lights at 3 Tennyson Crescent, Forrest, ACT, Australia, includes more than 50km of LED string lights, 520 Lightorama channels controlling a 50-metre, walk through, multi-coloured canopy and an 18-metre light-controlled tree (all animated and synchronised to music).
The lights took three men two months to hang and required the engineering of 30 steel poles into the front yard to support the weight of over 50 kilometres of light cables.
The magical Christmas experience is open to the public from Saturday, 30 November from 7.30pm to 10.30pm each night then from 7.30pm to around midnight on December 21, 22, 23 & 24. The display will be open on Christmas Day and Boxing day until 10.30pm.
And in case you're concerned about electricity issues, the lights are powered by ActewAGL’s Greenchoice renewable energy.