Canberra resident David Richards is well known for his stunning Christmas light displays. In 2011, he won his first Guinness World Records title with one that featured 331,038 lights. After some New Yorkers laid claim to the title in 2012, the 'crazy Christmas lights guy', as he likes to call himself, repeated the feat in 2013 with over half a million lights and reclaimed it.
His lights display prowess impressed the officials of Canberra so much that this year they invited him to use his skills to transform the city's popular Petrie Plaza. They were not disappointed. 'Crazy Christmas lights guy' has lit up the area with almost 1.2 million light bulbs. To put it in perspective, if the bulbs were laid side by side, they would stretch out for an astounding 110 kilometers! Arranged in the form of three giant 3-D Christmas gifts that the public can walk through, the display that opened on November 27th, covers almost 41,000 square feet of the plaza. What's even cooler is that the 'boxes' are filled with Christmas-themed light displays for visitors to admire as they traverse through.
Creating something this unique was not easy. Richards who is a lawyer by profession, says he spent nine months consulting with lighting architects, electrical & civil engineers, as well as designers, to make his vision a reality. Work on the project started in October with the construction of 22-ton steel structures to support the lights and installation of 110 kilometers of electric wiring. What is heartening is that the hundred workers that included electricians and other experts, did not charge the city for the equipment or the countless hours they spent on the fun project. City officials estimate that this resulted in a savings of $900,000 AUD ($749,000 USD).
That is great news for Richards given that the light display also doubles up as a fundraiser for SIDS and Kids ACT, a local charity dedicated to eliminating sudden and unexpected death in children from conception to six years of age. The cause is dear to the father of three, who lost his one-month-old son Thomas, to SIDS in 2002. In 2013, his personal home display, which was visited by more than 75,000 people helped raise $138,000 AUD ($114,000 USD) for the charity. This year should be even higher given that more than 200,000 visitors are expected to visit the Plaza display before it goes dark, on December 31st, 2014.
Resources: guinnessworldrecords.com.au, odditycentral.com