Tonight was the first night for the 2014 edition of the Menashe Family’s big, bright Christmas lights (5605 Beach Drive SW). You can certainly admire the densely decorated display from down the block, or driving by, but you’ll want to walk right up to see and hear it all.
That includes listening to your fellow light-watchers, who might be heard asking such questions as “Where do they store all this during the year?” But mostly, what we heard were exclamations of wonder. See why, ahead:
We also checked tonight on the Menashe Family Christmas Lights, the brightest lights in West Seattle year after year, and found the crew working hard on the display even as night fell and rain moved back in. Josh Menashe tells us that this Sunday will be the first official night of this year’s display, starting around 6 pm. Here’s something brand-new this year:
Kids will be able to drop off letters to Santa Claus in that brand-new box you’ll find outside the house at 5605 Beach Drive SW. (As Josh put it, Santa knows exactly where their house is.)
P.S. The Menashe home is of course also featured in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide – which also includes everything from Thanksgiving info (workouts, free dinners, coffee-shop/restaurant/grocery-store hours) to New Year’s, and we’re updating it daily.
Holiday countdown: West Seattle Lights/Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular starts on Thanksgiving nightNovember 24, 2014 at 5:10 pm | In Holidays, West Seattle Christmas lights, West Seattle news | 2 Comments
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
Blustery weather or not, the show must go on, so Jim Winder was back up on the roof today at 3908 SW Charlestown, home of his friends the Helmstetler Family, who have hosted his music-synched dancing-lights Christmas Spectacular since 2009.
When the show debuts on Thursday night, you’ll hear new music (added – including Meghan Trainor‘s “All About That Bass,” Taylor Swift‘s “Shake It Off,” Pharrell Williams‘ “Happy,” and Rock Sugar with “Don’t Stop the Santa”). “Surprises in early December,” too, Jim promises.
Jim says he’s not planning a big ceremony this year – the light shows will simply start on Thanksgiving night, with the website schedule updated by then, and you’ll be welcome to stop by any night through New Year’s Eve. A few hours after stopping by to see him, we passed the house again just before dark tonight, and noticed the baseline lights aglow, in Seahawks/Sounders blue and green:
The light show starts at 7 pm Thursday night – remember to bring a donation for the West Seattle Food Bank (there’s a bin out front). You can hear the synchronized music in your car at 101.9 FM.
P.S. This is one of three light shows that are part of the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide – we’re updating another show next – and please let us know when you see great lights, animated or not, throughout the season … here’s how.
Thinking of going out to look at Christmas lights tonight? Here’s another display listed on the WSB West Seattle Christmas Lights Map, the Rice home at 2128 47th SW. Finally got a chance to go by, just as it was starting to get dark – this is one that’s fun to see even before nightfall. As with most holiday displays, a quick photo doesn’t do it justice, so be sure to see it for yourself (especially if you are a “Charlie Brown Christmas” fan like your editor here). Speaking of the map, it continues to be findable on our Holiday Guide page or by direct Google Maps link, but here’s another look – click any tree icon for the corresponding address:
View West Seattle Christmas lights, 2013 in a larger map
And we can still add to it if you have an address to suggest! email@example.com or text 206-293-6302 (photos welcome too).
‘Tis the week before Christmas – prime time to enjoy lights. Duane Davis shared that photo of his display and an invitation to come enjoy it, and others nearby:
Come by 4152 46th Ave SW and see the Cotton Candy Trees, multicolored junipers, and our glowing home. A combination of incandescent and LED lights adds a bright festival feel to our neighborhood. Continue to drive up the street and see our friendly neighborhood lighting competition.
We’ve added it to the WSB West Seattle Christmas Lights Map – which you can see at that Google Maps link, or embedded on our Holiday Guide page. Photos and/or address tips still welcome – firstname.lastname@example.org – we hope to resume scouting tonight!
View West Seattle Christmas lights, 2013 in a larger map
Since we’re going into prime Christmas-lights-viewing time, with a week and a half until the holiday itself, here’s the first version of our annual map. This is NOT all-inclusive – we know there are many more bright lights out there – but we’re short on time for driving around to look, so please keep sharing suggestions, and we’ll be adding more! This is now part of the WSB West Seattle Holiday Events/Info Guide, so you can find it there even if you lose track of this story on the main page (also bookmark our coverage archive: westseattleblog.com/category/west-seattle-christmas-lights). Tips and/or photos, email@example.com – thanks! (We expect to add a few later tonight after another scouting trip.)
8:50 PM: Back from checking out Fauntlee Hills, which usually has more than a few brightly lit homes, and indeed, you’ll find them again this year:
Concord and Trenton, north of Barton, are the key streets to see, and we’re adding them to the map.
Tonight’s featured house is on the southeast corner of 38th and Morgan, and it’s another case of lights that you just have to see for yourself – our photo barely does them justice, with both music and blinking going on. Dozens of shutter clicks netted us this one in the split-second when all the lights cycled to “on.” The flashing display will definitely catch your eye as you pass by on Morgan.
We’ll be building a map for the weekend, showcasing lights we’ve already featured (archived here) and others we’re getting to – suggestions and/or photos still welcome, firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re tracking lights in our Holiday Events and Info Guide and via this Pinterest board.
Ken Iverson e-mailed to let us know about the lights we’re featuring tonight (in video instead of a still photo, because they’re about music and movement):
I am pleased to announce that our holiday light show is up and running. We are located at 4120 38th Ave SW between Genesee and Dakota. [map] We’re only about 3 or 4 blocks south of the Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular and while not quite as ‘Spectacular,’ we do have over 5,000 lights controlled by computer through over 2,700 channels set to music.
We have scheduled two shows of about 25 minutes running on the hour and half hour from 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM Sunday through Thursday, 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM Friday and Saturday and will run until about midnight on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
The music is fairly quiet if you stand on the sidewalk to watch, but a sign on the gate says it’s simulcast at 101.9 FM, same frequency as West Seattle Lights.
Now that it’s two weeks until Christmas Eve – we’ll be showing West Seattle Christmas lights nightly unless pre-empted by big breaking news. We welcome your suggestions (with or without photos), and we’re out looking around too. Above, Jeff and Ardith Burns shared the photo of their home in the Seola area:
We have decorated our home with lights and would like to share them with our West Seattle neighbors. There are over 18,000 lights and include 31 blowmolds, 3 fence scenes, and 5 standing/sitting deer. Our address is 3216 SW 114th St. [map] The lights are turned on from 5 pm to 10 pm each night through Christmas.
Next, another view from the crane-borne Christmas lights at West Seattle development sites; we noticed tonight that yet more lights have been added to the crane over Spruce (the former “Hole” at 39th/Alaska/Fauntleroy) – blue lights over the lower half of its vertical structure, punctuated by this:
More lights tomorrow! email@example.com if you have suggestions and/or a photo. To find them after we’ve published them, you can look in the archive or the WSB Holiday Guide as well as our Pinterest gallery of West Seattle Christmas lights, which includes an extra view of the Burns home.
Right before emceeing the Our Lady of Guadalupe tree lighting tonight, broadcaster Brian Callanan told us it just might be the coldest one yet, with temperatures in the 20s. Yet hundreds of people still showed up to carol and cheer, right after the tree was lit:
After some truly brisk caroling, people flocked into the warm gym at OLG’s Parish Life Center for cookies, cocoa, and mingling:
In the giving spirit of Christmas, eventgoers answered the call to fill this handmade (by Dave Fitton) sleigh with food donations:
The OLG tree holds the distinction of being at the crest of the city – since 35th/Myrtle is at the highest elevation in the Seattle city limits, 520 feet above sea level.
Two days after Christmas lights appeared on the crane for The Blake south of The Junction, the crew at The Former “Hole,” officially Spruce, decked theirs (which has been up for six months already!). Christopher Boffoli spotted the work in progress Thursday morning; after leaving the Design Review Board doubleheader chronicled in two stories here Thursday night, we checked out the resulting lights:
Will the crane at 4730 California be joining them? We’ll wait and see.
P.S. All season long, we’re happy to get your tips on more down-to-earth Christmas lights – firstname.lastname@example.org for photos and/or addresses.
We’ve already featured the official start of the season at West Seattle’s two best-known Christmas-lights displays (here and here) – now, it’s time to show off even more! Tonight, our first reader-contributed photo – above, TJ shares that photo from the 7900 block of 32nd SW. Below, we just noticed and photographed this home on 42nd SW near SW Raymond tonight:
We welcome photos and tips – please e-mail either (or both!) to email@example.com. And something new this year – in addition to archiving our Christmas-lights coverage here on WSB, we’re also featuring photos on a board on the WSB Pinterest page. (By this weekend, we’ll launch a map in the West Seattle Holiday Events/Info Guide too.)
Could it be a preview of things to come sometime this winter – maybe even later in the week? “Snowfall” graced the holiday wonderland known as the Menashe Family Lights on their first official night of the season. It’s a new feature this season, according to Josh Menashe; if it’s on, you’ll see the flakes flying from the south side of the front yard. Walking by is the best way to get a close look at so many of the megabright display’s features including the bear:
(This photo and the next four are by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
Look closely between the lights for an unlit decoration – the St. Nick statue:
And look up to see the many stars … including these, on the south side of the house:
Look toward the house to see these nutcrackers standing watch by the front door:
Here’s an opening-night-only scene – Menashe family members posing for group photos under the lights – at center, your hosts for the light show, Linda and Jack Menashe:
Last but not least, a step back to see the show in all its splendor, thanks to Jeff Pond of JP Images:
You can see the Menashe Family Lights at 5605 Beach Drive SW (map) nightly.
Video: Opening night for 2013 edition of West Seattle Lights / Helmstetler Family Christmas SpectacularNovember 30, 2013 at 9:22 pm | In West Seattle Christmas lights, West Seattle news | 10 Comments
The song list for West Seattle’s biggest synched-to-music Christmas-lights show, West Seattle Lights/Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular, always includes fun as well as tradition – and our first clip from tonight’s lighting ceremony qualifies. It’s “What Does the Hawk Say?”, the Bob Rivers Show takeoff on Ylvis‘s international megahit “What Does the Fox Say?”
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Before that and other light-show songs, tonight’s event began with caroling, and then the announcement of the name of the new “emcee” – “Sir Charles” the light-up snowman. Two people suggested “Charles” (as in Charlestown, the street the show is on) in the summertime naming contest, including Tim VanLiew, whose name was drawn by WSL creator Jim Winder for the honor of pushing the button tonight.
In that photo, Jim’s on the right, Tim’s on the left, holding his baby daughter Lucy, who helped with the button-pushing. The first song was sung live by Jim’s own daughter, Julie:
West Seattle Lights isn’t just a 32,673-light labor of love for family and friends – the Helmstetlers are the family who live in the house, and Jim is a longtime friend who makes the show happen every year – it’s also, with your help, a community fundraiser and foodraiser:
That’s the West Seattle Food Bank donation bin you’ll find out front; last year alone, more than half a ton of food was donated by WS Lights visitors. You can also donate money to the show’s designated charities, WS Food Bank and Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation, on this page of the official website. It all goes to charity, Jim points out – the time and money it takes to put on the show is 100 percent donated.
You might THINK you’ve already seen this year’s edition of the Menashe family’s legendary Christmas lights if you have driven by this past week or so, but everything up until now has been a partial test. We took that photo last night; tonight, we stopped by late in the day, and they were still out working on it. Tomorrow, we’re told, is when the Menashes expect to officially throw the switch on the finished 2013 edition of the display, around 5 pm. 5605 Beach Drive SW (map) if you don’t already know it by heart.
Way up on a steeply pitched roof across from the Charlestown water tower, Jim Winder was hard at work today with finishing touches on the 5th edition of West Seattle Lights / Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular, which debuts with a ceremony Saturday night.
We dropped by to catch him in action after he sent the official announcement about what’s new this year:
On Saturday, November 30th, West Seattle Lights will have their 5th Annual Lighting Ceremony at the home of Corey and Taylor Helmstetler at 3908 SW Charlestown. The public is invited free of charge, but attendees are asked to bring a food or cash donation for either West Seattle Food Bank or The Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation.
This year the Helmstetler Christmas Spectacular will have a NEW Master Of Ceremonies … a talking and singing 8 Foot Tall Snowman!!! Along with his two talking/singing Christmas Trees, Jaeley and Jaxton!
Earlier in the year we had a Name The Snowman Contest and we will be announcing the winner and the Snowman’s new name!
Christmas might be four months away – but there’s only three more months for Jim Winder, the mastermind of the West Seattle Lights/Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular synchronized light show, to get ready, and today, he’s sharing news of a contest for this year: Name the new animated MC – and the contest (simple to enter!) is NOT just for kids. Play the minute-long video above for details, and/or read on for this and other announcements about this year’s show:
(11/24/2012 photo by Nick Adams for WSB)
Bright lights and big hearts! We’re talking about not only West Seattle Lights mastermind Jim Winder and the hosting Helmstetler Family, who put on the famous music-synched Christmas-light show for free, but also about the show’s fans, who donate money and food to designated beneficiaries – Jim has just sent this season’s official announcement:
West Seattle Food Bank:
Cash: $1315 – up $421 from 2011′s $895
Food: 1100 lbs – down 333 lbs from 2011′s 1433 lbs
NW Parkinson’s Foundation:
Cash: $1194, up $329 from 2011′s $865
Total for the three years:
West Seattle Food Bank:
Food: 3599 lbs
NW Parkinson’s Foundation:
Cash Total For Three Years: $7,173!!!! This includes the $1,200 for the Kingstons, $500 for Teachout Family, and $391 for Pushing Boundaries.
Thank You West Seattle, and see ya later this year!!!!
West Seattle Lights
If you didn’t get around to donating to this year’s beneficiaries, but appreciated the light show, you can still use the direct links from the WS Lights page – just go here.
View West Seattle Christmas lights, 2012 in a larger map
We’re bringing out the West Seattle Christmas Lights map tonight because we just got word of one more home to add. From Ken and Cora:
We have another light show up and running. Its one that’s inspired by the Helmstetler family show and we use similar equipment, although a much more modest display (this year, at least). Our light show follows a number of Holiday songs and we broadcast on FM at 101.9 MhZ and have a small set of speakers set up, too.
We are located at 4120 38th AVE SW (just a few blocks away from the Helmstetler family display).
Currently our shows occur at 6:00PM, 6:40PM, 7:20PM, 8:00PM and 8:40PM. The program lasts about half an hour.
For those planning to go out looking at Christmas lights, we’ve added a few more stops to the map, including the home above (3726 Belvidere – thanks to Logan for the photo), Fauntlee Hills (the west side is most brightly lit – turn onto 41st SW from Barton, and both 41st and Concord have sights to see), and the home in the 7900 block of 32nd SW that we featured last year (Kevin says it’s all lit up again).
View West Seattle Christmas lights, 2012 in a larger map
Any more updates tonight, please let us know – then the map’s a wrap for the season, since we’ve observed over the years that some turn their lights off after Christmas Eve.
P.S. One of the spots on the map, the Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular/West Seattle Lights, will have free hot chocolate 6-8 pm Christmas Eve.
Since the weather is suddenly lovely – we know some may go out for a walk or ride tonight to look at Christmas lights, and we’ve mapped some of West Seattle’s most brightly lit homes, as in years past. Among them, the home you see above – 4152 46th Ave SW, where Duane Davis explains that they “have been decorating the home for 17 yrs and now have 10,000 lights – half are the energy efficient LEDs. Drive by and enjoy the cotton candy trees, our home, and our well lit neighborhood. Merry Christmas, West Seattle!” We expect to add at least a few more after tonight, but here’s what we have so far:
View West Seattle Christmas lights, 2012 in a larger map
To make the map printable, we left off the descriptions, but note that a few spots have multiple homes – in particular, the vicinity of 4043 Fauntleroy Way SW, which is the stub of Fauntleroy that is something of a frontage road along the southwest end of the bridge – that house is great, and even more of the neighbors have joined in this year.
Meantime, if you have other homes/apartments to suggest, please comment, or e-mail us the address to check out (photo/s welcome too if you have them): firstname.lastname@example.org – we’re adding this map to the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide so you can find it if you need to, in the nights ahead.
Continuing the annual WSB Christmas-lights spotlights – we photographed two of note along 36th SW south of the Admiral area last night. The house above is on the east side of 36th just north of Hinds (map); next, barely a block away, a unique “tree” outside a house that gets its annual dose of fame during an earlier holiday:
Our photo does not do justice to the tree of lights and plastic illuminated Christmas characters that rises outside the house on the southwest corner of 36th and Hanford (map), known for “Skeleton Theatre” every Halloween. This too is a must-see – we’ve never seen anything quite like it.
From a little ways directly west of there, Valerie shares this photo of the shining McKean House at 3431 48th Ave SW (map):
Working right now on a map in time for weekend Christmas-lights driving/riding/walking – stand by! And whether you have a photo or just an address to share – please let us know about your display, your neighbors’ display, something you drove by … email@example.com – thanks! (Meantime, our archived Christmas-lights spotlights, including past years, can be seen here, newest to oldest.)
Thanks to Nicole for sharing the photo of bright Christmas lights at 1315 SW Trenton (map) in Highland Park. We’re working tonight to build our traditional annual map of West Seattle’s dazzling decorations, as the peak time for light-viewing approaches. Also in the spotlight: A great collection of photos by High Point resident Wendy Hughes-Jelen, who is again photographing the light-decked porches in HP – you can see more than 50 photos in her album on Facebook; find it here.
If you have a Christmas-lights photo to share – here are all the ways to get it to us. Or, if you’ve seen or heard of cool lights in West Seattle, White Center or South Park, but don’t have a photo, please e-mail us the address (or even add it here as a comment) – firstname.lastname@example.org!
When we stopped by Jack and Linda Menashe‘s Beach Drive home last Sunday to see how the first day of decorating was going, the family was planning to ceremonially turn on their dazzling display tomorrow night. Then we spotted a post on the Menashe and Sons Jewelers (WSB sponsor) Facebook page this afternoon announcing it would happen tonight instead. The actual “lighting” is generally casual anyway – the lights were on when we pulled up around 6:45, and then there was a quick off-then-on lighting just after 7 to make it official.
If you’ve seen the lights but never met the family – here are Linda and Jack Menashe, stopping for a moment in tonight’s rain to pose under the light show that went up as usual with so many family and friends:
(added) Some new features this year – can you spot them in this closer look?
(If you’re going to see it, the house is in the 5600 block of Beach Drive – no close cross-street; it’s a little closer to the south end – Lincoln Park Way/48th SW intersection – than the other end.)
The Sunday sunshine was a boon to many who wanted to get their Christmas lights up – including the small army of family and friends working on West Seattle’s biggest and brightest display at the Menashe family’s home in the 5600 block of Beach Drive. They started work at 8 this morning, Josh Menashe told us, and by the time we stopped by about five hours later, they’d made a lot of progress. We got to meet two exuberant helpers – two of Jack and Linda Menashe‘s grandchildren, Jacob Menashe‘s daughters Sophia and McKenna, who were riding in the cherry picker:
The girls helped show us some of the new/newer decorations waiting in the yard – including candy canes taller than they are:
Here’s the biggest of the light-laden stars waiting to be put up around the property:
And while some of the shrubbery already was decked with bulbs, more lights – in boxes and tubs – waited to be added to the mix:
The Menashes will continue working on their display throughout the week, and they’re expecting to officially turn the lights on at 7 pm this Saturday (December 1st) – if you want to be there, that’ll give you (and us!) time after the West Seattle Junction Christmas Tree Lighting celebration, (5 pm Saturday). Another date to note – the evening of December 15th, Santa will be at the house for photos, as a benefit for the West Seattle Food Bank.
A special event tonight at West Seattle Lights/Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular, designer Jim Winder‘s music-synched light show at a little house on SW Charlestown across from the water tower: Singer Judy Pancoast flew cross-country for a free concert to open her holiday-season tour, visiting homes with animated Christmas-lights displays that incorporate her music. In our video, two versions of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” – and you’ll notice the dancing during the second one, since the audience was in the street, closed one night only so the concert, followed by the light show, could be enjoyed block-party style. Photos to come!
ADDED 1:53 AM: Scenes from the show, by WSB contributing photojournalist Nick Adams:
That’s WSL mastermind Jim Winder with a wave for the crowd. Among those watching, Mike and his dad:
After the concert, the colors:
13 more scenes, ahead:
Good news for West Seattle Lights-lovers … Monday’s mini-windstorm didn’t wreak too much havoc with designer Jim Winder‘s setup at the Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular HQ on SW Charlestown, across from the water tower. Just one star was damaged, Jim told us last night. In fact, despite the resurgent rain, he kept an early-evening appointment with WSB to run through one lights-synched song, which you can see in our clip above. (The audio’s somewhat muddied by the rain and wind, but the lights are big and bright!)
Some things you’ll want to know, especially if you missed our November 1st preview report:
-The lights launch Friday night; the schedule is on the official website – note the “special shows” for Christmas Eve/Day and New Year’s Eve (which is the final night of the season).
-The official lighting ceremony is Saturday night, with the free Judy Pancoast concert, at 7 pm. DIFFERENT THIS YEAR: Charlestown will be blocked off, that night only, for that block only – so come enjoy the block-party atmosphere! And bring donations for the West Seattle Food Bank; you can also make cash donations, which will be split between WS Food Bank and NW Parkinson’s Foundation (as explained on this webpage – where you also can donate $ any time).
How many lights? Jim is STILL adding them. You’ll find plenty of numbers on the website’s “Fun Facts” page, but there might not be a final tally till showtime! This is the fourth year we’ve covered this extravaganza, which keeps getting literally bigger and brighter.
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