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Norman family lights up season as 'gift to community'

The Downs family of rural Norman puts on a light show as a “gift to the community” and to collect donations of food and money for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.
by Jane Glenn Cannon Published: December 25, 2012
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— For years, Chuck and Kimberli Downs decorated their east Norman house with a few, tasteful “and very simple” Christmas lights.

All that changed when Chuck Downs retired in 2007, and his engineering brain needed something to do.

So he took a few lights and added to them; and then added some more; and then some more. More than 280,000 lights later — or, if you're counting strands, more than 18 miles of them — light up the countryside at their home at 2900 72nd Ave. SE.

The Downs Family Light Ministry has become a Christmas tradition, not only for the family but for the hundreds of visitors the show attracts each year.

Visitors are invited to park, watch the show — which is synchronized to music that can be downloaded from iTunes — and simply enjoy. Donations of canned goods or cash are accepted but not required, and all donations go to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

“Christmas memories are timeless, and we want to create special memories for our community,” Kimberli Downs said. “We don't really know why, but the combination of lights and music creates a lasting memory for everybody who has seen the display.”

She said the family also uses the light show as a ministry “and as a simple way to say thank you to the Lord. No amount of work on this display could ever compare to his sacrifice. What's a few lights compared to the gift of salvation?”

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by Jane Glenn Cannon
Senior Reporter
A native of Oklahoma, Jane Glenn Cannon is an award-winning reporter who has covered everything from crime, courts and government to entertainment and features. She wrote a popular personal column for many years. She is a former associate writer...
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If you go

Christmas light show

What: Downs family light show

Where: 2900 72nd Ave. SE

When: Weather permitting, from 6 p.m. to midnight every night through Jan. 1.

Info: For a current playlist, go to www.downsfamilychristmas.com.

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