For nearly 30 years, a large holiday lighting display free to the community at the residence of June and Tom Kukuchka in Tunkhannock was a tradition.
Anything that could hold a Christmas light would have one on it, said the Kukuchkas' son, Kevin, 38, of Tunkhannock. After the first couple years and a few blown fuses, we figured out just how many lights we could use. We always had a lot of fun doing it.
According to Kevin Kukuchka, as the children in the family grew and moved away, the tradition faded.
Over the years, unfortunately, it started to die down to smaller displays and eventually the house was blocked by the family's business, Creekside Garders, when it was built 16 years ago, he said.
Kevin Kukuchka first became involved in setting up the family display when he was about 10 years old and always got satisfaction from the joy the lights provided to members of the community.
I enjoyed just being out there doing it, he said. Tunkhannock is a small community. It was even smaller back then and when we would go out for breakfast, people would always tell us how much they enjoyed the lights, and that they would bring their children and grandchildren to see them. I think sharing the holiday spirit with so many people is really a great thing.
Kukuchka believes the tradition is traced back to his grandfather, George.
He always had a really nice display, he said of his grandfather. The centerpiece was a nativity scene and he had the big bulb Christmas lights and cutouts in the yard. I think it trickled down from there.
According to Kukuchka, the display at Creekside Gardens brings back fond memories for Julie Novack, who runs the store's gift shop.
She told me that when she was young, her parents took her on holiday lights tours and would always save our house for the grand finale, he said.
Kukuchka first discussed bringing back the holiday display with his younger brother, Jeffrey, at a family gathering in July.
Jeffrey was the engineer of the project, Kukuchka said. He started doing research on how to set up the computer software, including for the Four Firs, a singing quartet of lights mounted on a greenhouse that plays holiday songs from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
The entire display, which includes nearly 40,000 lights, is lit from dusk to 10 p.m. and will run through New Year's Eve. Plans are already in the works to make the display bigger and better in the future.
Along with the help of Kukuchka's parents, his wife Sherri, Jeffrey and his wife Jenilee, brother Eric and his wife Gretchen and their son Grayson, 8, and members of the Creekside Gardens staff, the project became a reality.
We worked four days into the evening to set up the display, Kevin Kukuchka said. We were like a bunch of kids running around with a sparkle in our eyes.
For details about the holiday light display at Creekside Gardens, visit http://www.creeksidegardens.com