Man puts up elaborate Christmas lights display in honor of mother who died of Alzheimer’s

Posted at 3:07 PM, Dec 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-05 16:07:46-05

Dalworthington Garden (KTVT) -- A Dalworthington Gardens man started working on his holiday display months ago.

Now his passion has spread down the street, attracting thousands of people every year.

David Kulesz was on vacation the week of Thanksgiving, but he was not kicking back and relaxing.

“It gets kind of scary up here when the wind is blowing,” Kulesz said.

He was 30 feet in the air in a rented hydraulic crane, covering his property with strands of lights.

“The goal is to throw the lines off kind of like it’s raining lights,” he said.

He wraps them around light poles, fences and curbs, along with every tree in his yard and a few of his neighbors’, too.

“Some of them ask me to,” smiled Kulesz. “Some of them I just kind of show up in the driveway with my cherry picker and convince them they ought to have some lights.”

The display gets bigger every year. “First year I had 39,000 lights,” he said. “Now I’m right at 400,000.”

Kulesz started working in late September, but it’s really a year-round effort. He says he’ll spend the spring and summer testing lines and replacing bad bulbs. Dozens of boxes of lights fill his attic, along with about 300 extension cords.

He’ll plug everything into a specially-built panel with its own meter. “I’ve got 120 plugs on here,” said Kulesz. “I keep calling electricians out here to add more power to it but I think I’m about maxed out for what the service line can handle.”

It’s been almost three decades since Kulesz started hanging lights but the tradition took on new meaning in 1999, when his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s shortly before her death.

“She loved the lights,” he said. “Even when she had alzheimer’s she loved the lights they would bring a smile to her face.”

That year he added a new sign to the display to encourage donations to the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

He worked 12 to 16 hours a day the week of thanksgiving before lighting up the up the neighborhood on Sunday.

Cars were already coming through as neighbors gathered in which become an annual tradition, raising plastic cups of champagne to a man whose passion shines bright all season long.

You can see the lights every night from 5:45 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. through January 1.

The display is on rushing Meadow Court in Dalworthington Gardens.