For over 45 years, Jack Baird has delighted area children and adults with his quarter-mile long Christmas light display located at 1233 E Ave. in Red Oak. The tradition continues this year, with the lights going on starting at nightfall on Dec. 12.
Baird’s Christmas gift to all of the area residents is a hidden treasure in the country that can be located by following the glow in the night sky from thousands and thousands of LED lights.
Baird and his partner, Sandy Severn; his sons Chris and Kirk Baird; sons-in-law Miles Russell and Scott Suchting; grandchildren and others have worked together every year painting and cutting out giant flat-panel characters, building small scenes and stringing LED Christmas lights on everyday objects. Some of the displays spin, wave or nod, and some are still.
Visitors to this display drive slowly along the quarter mile stretch of road, trying to take in the vast array of characters and scenes spread across the field. There is an area to turn around at the end of the road and drive back by again slowly, and it is not unusual to see cars joining the line to make a second or third pass as there is just so much to see.
Children will see familiar characters from cartoons and children’s shows in Christmas attire and scenes, as well as Santa Claus, his elves, sleigh and reindeer, and nativity scenes. He has also built enclosed scenes with large windows so people can see things like a lighted church with people inside or Santa’s workshop.
Some objects have been decorated with lights that make them appear to be moving. As in years past, visitors might see a rolling combine, saluting soldier, a carousel and Ferris Wheel, and more recent additions, including a helicopter added last year.
Baird’s son, Chris, said they generally add something new every year, and it is up to the visitors to find the new additions. When asked if his 89 year-old father was still active in the annual decoration, Chris laughed, saying they had to wait to get the display up and running until after Jack was done with working 10 hour days during harvest.
There is no charge to drive by to view this incredible display, and it is well worth the drive. Many visitors say they saw it as children and have a tradition of going every year with their children or grandchildren.
Should anyone wish to help with the costs of maintenance and electricity for the light display, visitors can leave a donation in the donation box on the side of the road.
Baird’s Christmas lights go on at nightfall and stay on until 10 p.m. every night unless the weather is too extreme. If the weather is too bad a notice will be issued on Facebook and on KMA.
The light display starts on Dec. 12 this year, and will run through Jan. 1, 2021. Baird’s display is located at 1233 E Ave., Red Oak, IA, and visitors are welcome to call Jack at 712-623-3930 for more information.
Baird’s grand-daughter, Kaitlin Suchting, maintains the Facebook page, “Baird’s Christmas Lights,” where visitors can find photos and additional information about the display, as well as many, many comments from visitors present and past.
Chris Baird said of this year’s display, “With the limitations and restrictions imposed by COVID this year, it seemed more important than ever this year to bring this display to life and give families something to enjoy together.”
Everyone could use some simple, traditional, child-like joy and delight in their lives right now, and Baird’s Christmas light display is a can’t miss.