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Friends joined by Christmas light display efforts

December 2, 2018

Whatever side of north Utah County you live, there is a fun opportunity to see a massive moving light show that has been months in the making.

While the heat of the September sun kept everyone in shorts and T-shirts, Barry Squires of Saratoga Springs and Josh Edwards of Pleasant Grove were plotting and planning for such a time as this. Squires and Edwards share the hobby of choreographed motion light displays synced to music. And these aren’t the type of lights one puts up in just one Saturday morning.

“When you’re into it as much as we are, you have to start in September,” Squires said with a laugh. “It’s crazy, but it’s a good crazy, though.”

Squires and Edwards spent that month programming their light shows through a free software program that allows them to plan the colors, speed and timing of their lights — thousands of which adorn the gutters, windows and landscapes in front of their two homes.

The programming software is the only free thing about this particular hobby. It also requires multiple power boxes and strands of lights, all of which isn’t cheap.

“It’s a time-consuming hobby. Sequencing takes hours,” Squires said.

To get the light show they want, Edwards and Squires create light lines for sections of their homes by stringing LED lights on PVC pipes for easier hanging. This year they spent a bit more time on Squires’ home, because he added an arch and snowflakes to his show this year. The duo spent one morning in October hanging out in a boom truck, drilling yet more holes in the front of Squires’ home.

“Oh, my wife is going to kill me,” Squires joked then as Edwards pulled out the drill.

And things don’t always work as expected. Edwards spent another morning in November in a boom cage fixing those same snowflakes he’d hung in October, after a windstorm blew through and whipped the decorations around.

Edwards also does most of the computer sequencing on his and Squires’ homes. He’s well-known in the lighting community, and programs shows for others all around the nation. Because Edwards’ home is a rambler and Squires is a two-story, they can run the same sequence and it looks completely different, Edwards said.

Since they start adding the lights to their homes in October, they both run Halloween-themed shows in the evenings. The lights are still designed based on what they want the show to look like in December, and they add the Christmas touches in November.

Edwards is actually the reason Squires started the hobby. Edwards started programming light shows in 2008 using incandescent lights that had to be timed according to color, or they’d blow a fuse. Squires’ wife saw Edwards’ show, which sits on 200 South in Pleasant Grove, just across the street from the Pleasant Grove High School. She was so impressed, she brought her husband to see it.

“I was seriously amazed, I just knocked on his door,” Squires said.

“Yes, he was just some random guy who showed up at my door,” Edwards said with a chuckle while moving the boom cage into position that October morning.

The duo has been working together on their shows for about five years now. They’ve lost count how many thousands of lights decorate their homes.

“We ask each other every year if we’re going to do this again,” Squires said with a laugh.

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