Lights on 436

‘You’re bringing something to somebody to put a smile on their face’

Ronnie Allred’s home lit up for his Christmas Light show at 5070 County Road 436 in Cullman County. (Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Ronnie Allred has created a spectacular Christmas light show, Lights on 436, in his own front yard and invites everyone to see it free of charge. Allred has 5,200 LED pixels lining his house and has several props, including “talking” Christmas trees, so he can sync the lights to music. Some of the songs are Christmas classics like “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Carol of the Bells.” The show also features some short Christmas monologs about the reason for the season and some humorous interjections in between. The entire show runs about 30 minutes.  

Allred explained how he got started. Last Christmas, while in the Trussville area looking at Christmas lights, he said, he saw a musical light show that piqued his interest. After some research, he found the Facebook group “Official xLights Support Group,” a community of those all over the country who develop Christmas light shows, that helped him get started.  

This year, starting in August, he began the process of learning how to put on his own show. A contact from Louisiana made him a control box that controls the light sequences. He uses software called xLights, a free program, to schedule each of the songs in the show. Allred also has an F.M. transmitter that only transmits a short distance but allows visitors to tune in to 100.1 to hear the synched Christmas music in their cars. 

Allred said that the entire process was easier than he expected and that the community of people who put on their own light shows was incredibly helpful. “People do it because they love it,” he said. Many donated their time to help him learn.  

His main drive for starting the light show was to create something his kids and grandchildren could enjoy for years to come. He spoke about the “Simcoe Lights” display at the Swindle family property along Alabama Highway 69 that everyone in Cullman County of a certain age grew up enjoying, saying, “I remember going to that all the time and just going down Highway 69 and seeing the lights hanging 50-60 feet in a tree and, as a kid, you think, ‘How did that happen?’” 

He wanted to create a similar sense of wonder for others. On Nov. 12, Allred held a “flip the switch” night for his family and friends to experience the light show first. He said that since they enjoyed it so much, he hoped others would as well. The show has been running since Nov. 13. Showtimes are Sunday-Thursday, 5:30-9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday, 5:30-11 p.m. 

“It’s kids and adults. You see adults just in awe,” said Allred. “I feel like I’ve been blessed by God. I think I’ve found something I really, really love.” He plans to add more to the show each year. Some who have visited the show have told him that he should charge admission, but, he said, “You’re bringing something to somebody to put a smile on their face. It’s paid for, so it’s not a big deal for me.” 

Lights on 436 will be open until Jan 2 at 5070 County Road 436 in Cullman County.  

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