The lights are turning on for one last show. After years of bringing the holiday spirit to Guilford through his creative holiday lights display, Joe Petrowski has announced this will be the last year for Joe’s Amazing Lights.
Joe’s Amazing Lights have made an annual appearance every night during the holidays for well over a decade. Petrowski put on the holiday light show outside his parent’s home as a labor of love and to raise money for great causes, but has now decided to flip the switch on the display.
The holiday spectacle has always been indicate and unique. To the unassuming passerby driving through the neighborhood, Joe’s Amazing Lights may appear to be blinking a bit more than the typical home holiday display enthusiast’s, but fans of the display know to pull over, tune their radio to 107.3 FM, and take in a show of 65,000 lights dancing to the music, all choreographed by Petrowski. Strung through the air, hanging from trees, and even covering the family ranch house—including the roof and chimney—Joe’s Amazing Lights shine, sparkle, glow, blink, twinkle, and change into any number of dozens of designs, each a brilliant match for every holiday song in Petrowski’s music mix.
“I began the holiday displays when I was six years old,” he said. “Every year, the displays have grown in size and eventually were synchronized to music. For the past 10 years, I have traveled back to my parents’ home in Guilford from either school in Boston at Emerson College or my new home in New York City. I’ve spent countless long weekends preparing the displays for the general public to enjoy. This year’s display consists of about 65,000 lights complete with strobe lights, moving lights, LEDS, and more than 10 songs.”
Petrowski said he has always been enthused by the holiday spirit, asking for holiday decorations and lights for his birthday and striving to outdo himself each year. However, trying to manage the impressive display while commuting back to Guilford for the last 10 years hasn’t been easy. Petrowski said he begins putting up the displays in October and sometimes works 16-hour days just trying to get everything working perfectly.
As a seasonal employee at Walt Disney World in Florida and with a part-time job and a full-time job in New York, Petrowski said he is ready for the next creative chapter in his life and it is time to bring down the curtain on this show.
As this is the last year, Petrowski said he hopes to go out on a high note. Over the years the display has more than $113,000 for local and national charities including Make-a-Wish (MAW) Connecticut, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, American Cancer Society, Guilford Food Bank, Guilford Animal Shelter, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and The Epilepsy Foundation & the Autism Society (ASCONN). This year he said he wants to raise more than $10,000 for MAW.
“As a seasonal cast member at Walt Disney World, I see many MAW children have their dreams come true,” he said. “To see the beginning of a wish through fundraising efforts through the lights and then seeing the wish actualized at Disney World is an amazing, indescribable feeling that always get me teary eyed and choked up.”
While Petrowski has been the heart and soul of the display, he said he still has plenty of people to thank for their support over the years.
“I appreciate my parents and brother’s support over the years—from physically collecting the monetary donations every night to clearing the yard of leaves to transporting the decorations from storage to the front yard,” he said. “I also want to give a special thanks to the neighborhood for being so understanding and accepting of the extra traffic during the holidays. And most of all I would like to thank the shoreline community. Without their support and enthusiasm for the displays, I would not have done the displays for as long as I have as well as raising more than $113,000 and counting!”
You can visit Joe’s Amazing Lights outside 163 Valley Shores Drive. The lights run Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 to 11 p.m. until Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. Donations may be left in the collection box on display. For more information, visit Joe’s Amazing Lights on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JoesAmazingLights.
Read more about Joe at Zip06.com.