Madison family continues light tradition; wins lawsuit

By NIKKI ROWELL,

No, the Griswolds did not move to Madison. That glow on the horizon is coming from the Richardson Light Show.

In a few short years, the light display has gone from a family tradition of simple holiday decorating to an over-the-top show that takes months to prepare.

Hayden, the son of Mike and Carol Richardson, said the tradition first started at their previous home in Madison over 18 years ago.

“It started as a small residential display like you’d see around town,” Richardson said. “We had a small nativity scene and a few wire-frame deer.”

The display has since grown to 100,000 LED lights, 300 inflatables and several hundred wire frame characters.

And they aren’t done. The tradition continues after the décor comes down, as the family of three scours post-holiday sales for new additions to make the display unique year after year.

“We have a tremendous love for Christmas and decorating,” Richardson said. “It has definitely grown over the years. We try to add a few new items each year. We buy new stuff at the end of each year.”

The family finds items at local stores and occasionally from retailers across the country.

Their love for putting up the display grows as their following increases as well, because the family loves sharing their Christmas cheer with the community.

“People have enjoyed coming by to see it, so we kept adding,” Richardson said. “We get joy out of doing it, and we see how much joy others get out of us doing the display.”

 

As the show grew in popularity, there were some complaints from a neighbor about the influx of traffic during the Christmas season. Ultimately, this led to a lawsuit spearheaded by attorney Eddy Edwards to shut the show down.

Last year, Edwards, a neighbor of Carol and Mike Richardson, filed a personal suit against the Richardsons through the Madison County Chancery Court.

Edwards told the Sun last year that his primary request was that the Richardsons agree to move the show outside of Sundial after this year. He also asked that they not have the display going every night and not on Christmas Eve.

However, the Richardsons won the case.

“We’ve been doing the display for 18 years now, and we hope to continue it each year,” Richardson said. “The city of Madison has been working with us to implement a traffic route.”

This allows for a better flow of traffic through the area. Madison police are also present on nights that the light show is going to direct traffic and keep everything running smoothly.

“I wish it would be moved to a public place where it could be enjoyed by those who wish to do so without interfering with our Christmas,” Edwards said.

“I have no comment on the result of the lawsuit,” Edwards added.

The light show will run through to December 26. Sunday through Thursday, the display will be open from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and 5:30 to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Richardson said the community response has been tremendous.

“We get comments from people around the community, but also from around the U.S.,” Richardson said. “We have so many families tell us how much they enjoy it and how it has become an annual tradition for them to come by and see the lights.”

It’s a family tradition for the Richardsons as well. Richardson said it’s a family event each year for him and his parents to put all the décor up each year.

“It takes all of us to get it up each year,” Richardson said. “Each person has a role to get it all done.”

While the Richardson Light Show has its own local following, the nation took notice when the family was featured on an episode of the Great Christmas Light Fight on November 26.

The show has six episodes, with four households competing each episode.

Judges go out to each home and choose a winner. The Richardsons did not win, but he said they were happy to be selected to participate.

“We had a big reveal of the display,” Richardson said. “The winner receives $50,000. We did not win, but I will say, it was a great opportunity. It was something that took a lot of work and time and effort. We really enjoyed our time.”

Richardson said to follow their Facebook page or visit their website for more information, such as hours of operation, weather information and a traffic map.

He added that they are also always open to any questions or concerns and can be contacted through social media.

 

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Kindergarteners (from left) Jaycee Baker, Paylor Jordan, Lucy Hines, Hart Noblitt and Carter Haralson recently dressed for their hundredth day of school at Jackson Academy.