A look behind downtown Macon’s Christmas Lights Extravaganza
Over the past five years, downtown Macon has become famous for its bold and bright Christmas light display.
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Over the past five years, downtown Macon has become famous for its bold and bright Christmas light display.
With more than half a million lights on trees, bushes, and art installations, the display takes months to set up, but the most impressive part is that it’s all timed with music from local performers.
“On the music side, there is a lot behind the scenes to make it sound the way we make it sound,” the show’s Music Director, Steve Moretti, said. “We both put 150% into it, but the payoff is the people, and to have that impact on people is priceless.”
Bryan Nichols, the man who makes it all come together, gave 41NBC a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into putting on this extravagant show every year.
“Twinkle, fade up, fade down, you have to do that with every single component, whether it be a net light, a tree, the canopy, the Megatree, I mean it’s very very slow,” Nichols explained.
He typically starts working on the light display in the first few days of October to have time to test the lights and make sure they all come on when cued.
“It’s basically two months to put it up,” he said. “Then you have the show, and then you take a month to take it down, and in September we start testing the lights,” Nichols said. “It’s about a five-month process total.”
He uses a computer system with a grid of downtown to tell each tree what to do during each performance. Just one song can take him up to 50 hours to program. However, he says all of the hard work pays off when he gets to see people enjoying the lights.
“I love it,” he said. “Because with about 36 days of the show every year, and you see the same people coming back again and again, and it’s just amazing.”
The lights come on for musical shows at 6, 7, 8, and 9 p.m. every night.
The show is free, and you can hear the music from anywhere downtown. If it’s too cold outside to walk around, you can drive by the lights and turn your radio to 89.3 FM to see what the lights are dancing to.