Man uses computer expertise to decorate Port home with 8,500 bulbs flashing to music
Photographs don’t do justice to Nate Cannon’s holiday light display that is synchronized to music broadcast over 88.5 FM. Rarely are all 8,500 lights on at one time as they flash, sequence and change colors.
His wife Christine used her iPad to video record the display for posterity, or perhaps as reference for next year’s display, which her husband will try to outdo.
The display at their condominium, 1835 Woodview Cir., Port Washington, lights up the cul du sac. It’s set to go on at 4:15 p.m. and turn off at 10 p.m. except Fridays and Saturdays when it’s on until 11 p.m.
“It takes me four days to set up, one day to wire and two days to take it down and store it in the garage attic,” Cannon said.
He programmed three industrial computers that control 80 outputs. The main computer sits next to the Christmas tree in the couple’s living room. Another computer is in the front yard and the third one is along his property line.
“It’s an industrial computer system like I used in my job,” said Cannon, who repaired computerized machines at Masterlock for 38 years.
When he retired four years ago, he had more time to work on his Christmas display and it shows.
“It’s fun. I enjoy doing it,” he said. “Hardly anybody else decorates on the cul du sac. The neighbors say they enjoy it. At least they don’t complain.
“I had more lights last year, but that was a different scene.”
Cannon added more hoop-jumping lights and trees that seem to dance as they flash on and off and change colors.
“I invest a couple of hundred dollars each year,” said Cannon, who enjoys watching cars slow down as the occupants tune in the music and watch the show.
Cannon started putting up light displays 26 years ago when he lived in a small Milwaukee apartment. He strung lights around a patio door and synchronized the color changes to music. His 3-year-old daughter was mesmerized by it.
When he moved to an apartment in Oak Creek, he lit up a Happy Holidays sign that was nine feet long and two feet high. It ran the length of his balcony and could be seen from the highway.
He then moved to a Cedarburg apartment that had a balcony with no electrical outlet, so he used battery-operated lights.
“Then we moved to Port Washington, and I kind of went nuts,” Cannon said. For the past 14 years, he’s lit up the street and believes this is the best display ever.
Of course, he says that every year.
The display will stay up until Jan. 10.
Image Information: AT HIS WOODVIEW CIRCLE condominium, Port Washington resident Nathan Cannon synchronized 8,500 lights to flash to music broadcast on 88.5 FM. Photo by Sam Arendt