The home of John Bianco on Cedarpost Road at the corner of Harvest Lane in Clay lights up at Christmas time. This year, Bianco has taken up a collection for the food pantry at St. Joseph the Worker as part of his display,
continued The display is never the same two years in a row.
“There are some staples, such as the runway, that I use every year, but I add to them,” Bianco said. “I try to mix it up.”
For example, where there was once only one tree, there are now several, along with five or six reindeer.
The display is no small undertaking. “My record for putting it up is 37 hours,” he said, “but this year it took 44 or 45. We ran into some technical difficulties.”
Bianco’s father, an electrician, helps with the planning. The display runs on multiple electrical circuits with upgraded amperage to accommodate its energy appetite.
The holiday spectacle has gained quite a reputation, drawing a few hundred visitors each holiday season. This year, Bianco is seeking to capitalize on that traffic by doing something good for the community. He's placed a barrel in front of the display along with a sign, asking visitors to leave non-perishable food items.
“The economy has been really difficult for several years now, and people are hurting,” he said. “This is something I love to do, and the food collection seems like a really good way to give back.”
He checked with the Town of Clay government to make sure he wouldn't need a special permit.
"They thought it was wonderful."
The donations he collects will go to the St. Joseph's food pantry.
“My goal is to collect a minimum of 100 items,” he said, “but I'd really like to fill the barrel at least two times.”
The display is a hit with his neighbors in Merrill Farms. One little girl in the neighborhood told him that she has used it as a night-light. Others have said that they don't need to visit the Lights On The Lake display at Onondaga Lake Park since they have such a fine display right outside their front doors.