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Anti-Norman-Rockwell holiday light tour does not disappoint

December 24, 2012

Snow angels and snowmen may be rare in these parts, but Southerners are adept at finding other, more creative ways to celebrate the winter holidays. Case in point: the Wacky Tacky holiday light tour.

Billed as the “anti-Norman-Rockwell celebration of our most outrageous traditions,” the tour offered “Thousands of lights!” “Gravity defying displays!” and “Blow-ups with more hot air than a room full of politicians!”

Synchronized to Christmas music on a local radio station, this holiday display was not to be missed.

The event had two parts: eating wacky tacky food and viewing wacky tacky lights. We met at a local brew pub wearing our tackiest Christmas attire (lighted headgear optional), and we chowed down on an evening meal of sloppy Joes, cheese in a can, “Ritz” crackers (the generic kind) and store-bought cookies on paper plates, before climbing into a chartered bus for the tour.

The highlight of this colorful display was a visit from Santa, decked out in his red suit and riding a motorcycle.

The buses that ran early entertained families with holiday-loving youngsters. Our (later) bus was intended for grown-up holiday lovers and included a keg of beer. The buses stopped in front of the most outrageous, humorous and entertaining holiday light displays in town.

The Chanukah house<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />

When our bus stopped, we got out and took pictures of the displays, which had names like Santa’s Wonderland, the Chanukah house and the Christmas Bordello (where all of the lights were red). Santa’s Trailer Park included lots of Christmas blow-ups in someone’s front yard, complete with a walking trail. Our enduring statewide college football rivalry was even represented — by a house that featured all orange lights and included an Auburn University logo on the roof.

Covered in orange lights, this home and yard was a homage to Auburn University.

Hundreds of people signed up for the festive event, which did not disappoint. The creative mind behind the curtain was Verna Gates, founder of Fresh Air Family, a non-profit organization that offers more than 400 outdoor activities annually to more than 10,000 people statewide.

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