Born and bred in the Bay, Ray Costigan moved to his home on Old Bangalow Road in 1980, but it wasn’t until 10 years ago that his house and garden turned into a Christmas light extravaganza.
Ray says he started putting up a few lights about 20 years ago, but about 10 years ago he upped the ante. ‘I started it to impress my six grandkids,’ says Ray. ‘It worked!’
Ray generally assembles the lights on his own, but last year his son helped him add a garden walk, and this year three local lads helped to assemble the Christmas tree.
It usually takes him about four weeks to get everything up.
These days most of the lights are LEDS and as the Costigan’s have a solar array, it doesn’t cost them all that much more than the usual bill. ‘There are a few old school bulbs around the reindeer, but the rest are LEDS.’
Last year Ray added a donation box and the light show raised over $1,000 for the Byron Hospital Auxiliary. Ray hopes to raise a similar amount this year, though he understands that a lot of funds are going to the RFS.
Ray says he enjoys the evening with visitors.
‘I stay downstairs and mingle, and that way it helps stop vandalism and you can talk to people. They admire the garden – they come to see the lights and stay for the garden.’
Ray says it’s hard to describe the feeling when people see the display.
Hit with the kids
‘The young children come in – they are that excited, and it gives you a good feeling.
‘Some adults express themselves right out and some are a bit reserved, but kiddies – the kiddies love it!’
The grand light show which is at 19-21 Old Bangalow Road Byron Bay, will be turned off December 31 at midnight for the last time, as family and health issues mean that Ray will have to tone the display way-down to a small gesture in future years.