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The Signal's Holiday Light Tour

The winning homes and streets

Posted: December 16, 2011 6:00 a.m.
Updated: December 16, 2011 6:00 a.m.

Ash Court in Saugus, one of the streets visited on the Holiday Light Tour.

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Note: See our accompanying stories, "Absence of lights tour" and "Tour the SCV light fantastic" for how this all went down.


Home is where the heat is

Bright lights and bonfires guide us through the night

By Jim Walker

Like a fine wine or a YouTube skateboard crash, there really is no right or wrong or good or bad when it comes to holiday home illumination. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and of Light Tour judges who took in an amazing variety of such last Saturday night. When you figure in the delightful people we visited, every home deserved to be a champion. As often is the case, scores were high all around, and the "winners" were only a couple points ahead. To recognize more of our top scorers, we offer several winning categories.


Grand Champion Home
The Tisdell family (Todd, Sara, Emma and Spencer) 30523 Deed Ave., Castaic, CA 91384
The Tisdells have won this award before, and why not? This incredible, 12-minute display of 25,000 lights coordinated with music makes a trip into the wilds of Castaic well worth it. And this year 17,000 of those lights are LED. There's also a life-sized gingerbread house and skiing snowmen.
Judge Michele noted, "How can you not smile at this over-the-top, amazing display of light and sound? If you don't believe in the magic of the holidays after experiencing this fabulous show, you aren't human. Don't forget to sign the Christmas Wish board!"
Judge Jana noted, "It's like being swept back to my childhood and into the wonderful world of Disney all at once."
Judge Jason thought, "It's like Disneyland without the crowds."
Judge Lila was impressed that Todd had been programming the lights since summer.
Judge Jim appreciated the hot cider and "extras" and was especially moved by the big "Star of Wonder" crescendo at the end.

Grand Champion Runner Up House
Andrew and Gerrie Titcomb, 27335 Blueridge Drive, Valencia, CA 91354
As they did last year, the Titcombs had some fun and turned the word "Noel" into "Leon," and took that as their theme, complete with multiple yard cutouts of famous and not-so-famous people and cartoon characters with the word "leon," or one of its derivations, in their names. For example, you have Ponce de Leon, Leon Redbone and Lenny the shark from "Shark Tale." And, for all of us who are a bit slowwitted on a cold evening, there is a diagram explaining it all.
Judge Michele noted, "Creativity, thy name is Andrew and Gerrie Titcomb! Amazingly clever and fun, the legions of Leons are always entertaining."
Judge Jason also appreciated the Titcombs' creativity, and noted "all the figures are lit by LED lights."
Judge Jim especially enjoyed trying to figure out some of the cutouts, though often needing to resort to the diagram. And he felt the gift bags the Titcomb's passed out to the judges took "creative" to a whole new level.

Champion of ‘Different'
Justin Bloor, 28823 Deodar Place, Saugus, CA 91390
This young man takes a "The Nightmare Before Christmas" theme to incredible heights, with characters from that movie artistically presented.
Judge Jana noted, "This home uses ‘Imagineering' as a new reality for Christmas decorating."
Judge Jason felt the theme was carried out well, "hand crafted and not too much."
Judge Jim figures Justin Bloor's desire to work for the Walt Disney company should come to fruition soon. "The kid has talent," he wrote. "Very impressive."
Judge Michele noted, "This young man never ceases to amaze me. He is extremely talented. His ‘Nightmare Before Christmas' is a SCV classic."

Best Sibling Rivalry
Mark and Carla Caple of 22112 Altair Lane, Saugus, CA 91390 competing against Thomas Caple, Jr. of 28337 Houston Court, Saugus, CA 91350
As they did last year, the Caple brothers were indulging in their own friendly competition with the decoration outside and inside their homes. Mark took it by just a few points, however both homes were impressive - especially for the extensive displays of Christmas miniatures in their living rooms.
For Mark's house, Judge Jason noted, "It's Christmas with a bit of whimsy, and a lot going on inside." And for Thomas' house, he thought, "It takes you into a fantasy land."
Judge Michele loved the hot air balloon with Santa at Mark's house, and the log blazing away on the giant plasma TV. At Thomas' house she liked the beautiful lights that traveled out over the street.
Judge Jim gave both houses maximum points for the amazing miniature villages.
Judge Jana thought, at Thomas' house, "The miniature town inside the house is like going to FAO Schwarz."

Lights, Music and Heart
Maddux family, 19121 Dalton St., Newhall, CA 91321
With 41,000 lights dancing to music every 15 minutes, the family is also collecting food for Help the Children, which will be distributed in the SCV.
Judge Michele was captivated by the dancing elf. "A fantastic display of synchronized lights with music. Now this is Christmas," she wrote.
Judge Jim was impressed by the lights, but even more impressed by Kyle Maddux dancing to the music in an illuminated elf suit. "The man has no inhibitions, apparently," he noted.
Judge Jason noted, "It's quite the production. "A note of sophistication, and everyone was so hospitable."
Judge Lila was impressed by multiple channels of music and lights available.
Judge Jana thought, "This homeowner went all out to ring in the holiday."

Best Topical
David Wiltz, 21938 Wakefield Court, Saugus, CA 91350
For any one house to attempt to stand out on Wakefield Court seems to be hubris. It's about near impossible. But we suspect that Wiltz merely wanted to meet the judges, which he did. And his judge numbers added up well, too. So we offer him this special category, with a nod toward his "Occupy Wakefield 99%" yard sign next to a Santa under a "tent." Who wouldn't want to occupy that street at Christmastime?
Judge Jana noted, "I loved Santa in the tent occupying Wakefield."
Judge Lila liked the variety of items in the yard, such as the train emitting steam, snowman in the pickup truck, and the Star of David at the top of the house.

2000 Lights a Year
Patrick Gullick, 19119 Drycliff St., Canyon Country, CA 91351
With 18,506 lights going, Gullick said he adds another 2,000 every year. The roof is entirely covered with tiny colored lights. Gullick even brought out the boat into the driveway and added lights to it.
Judge Michele loved the banana bread and gave extra points for decorating the boat.
Judge Jason noted that Gullick said the upfront cost of LED light has kept him working with incandescent lights, but Gullick labeled his creations "Light Entertainment Design," so our LED theme still worked.
Judge Jana liked the blowup Santa on a rocking horse and the reindeer on the roof.

Good Times Tie
Bob and Leslie Heaton, 23647 Gravino Road, Valencia, CA 91355 and Keith and Marilee Hobbs 26439 Misty Ridge Place, Canyon Country, CA 91387
Though these two homes are quite different in design, they tied with a good score, so we present them here for "good times."
Judge Michele felt, at the Heaton home, "These folks really know how to party." And at the Hobbs home, she noted "This family spends a lot of time and effort crafting unique and fun displays."
Judge Jim gave the Heatons extra points for their "community" theme, especially as emphasized by the visitors they had over to enjoy Street Tacos. "Oh my!" The Hobbs, he felt had terrific yard cutouts, and there was something so relieving about their home, as it was the first one visited after the stressful CHP encounter.
Judge Jana loved the life-sized Santa at the Heatons home. For the Hobbs, she felt, "I really enjoyed the non-traditional Christmas décor, mixed with a touch of Halloween."
Judge Lila loved "the old fashioned Christmas hospitality" at the Heaton home.
Judge Jason liked the music available on the radio and the animated Santa at the Heaton home. For the Hobbs, he felt the scary/Christmas was a good blend.


Back on the Streets again

The few, the proud, the Light Tour street entries

By Jim Walker

To get your collective act together to enter a holiday lighting contest as a street is no simple thing - especially if you expect to compete against the year-in-year-out heavyweights. Consequently, only a few streets in the SCV contended this year. Wakefield Court voluntarily took itself out of "official" consideration, and that left us with five streets/neighborhoods to consider. All of them deserve mention, and get it here.


Grand Champion of Streets
Ash Court in Saugus
Not only does Ash Court offer an amazing display of lights over the street and on the homes, it was a most friendly and cordial stopping-off point for Light Tour judges.
Judge Michele noted, "Ash Court is one of "the places to live" in the SCV. What a wonderful neighborhood. ... Too bad they were duped by an imposter limo of folks who let them think they were the Light Tour Judges.
Both Judge Jana and Judge Jason enjoyed the giant poinsettias painted on the asphalt, and that each home has a word of inspiration displayed, such as "Faith," "Hope," "Love," "Believe" and "Joy."

Grand Champion Runner Up
Essex Place in Valencia
Essex Place is always a refuge for the Light Tour judges, a terrific display of lights and decorations, chock-full of neighbors mingling, children singing and lots of goodies to eat.
Judge Jim noted, "They used LED lights across the street this year, in keeping with our theme, and there is a multi-cultural aspect in the holiday greetings."
Judge Jason thought this "was the most fun place, and they had a Signal hat on top of their tree."
Judge Lila liked the fact that the neighbors came together to help each other and ensure every house on the street was fully decorated.
Judge Jana liked the fact that, "Every family was out on the street celebrating."

Champion of Small Streets
Eli Hallak's home at 25086 Cotton Blossom Lane in Stevenson Ranch, and his neighbor Andrew Hasson at 25884 Royal Oaks
This little corner of holiday cheer puts larger neighborhoods to shame. Hallak and Hasson go all out, with décor set to theme music.
Judge Michele thought, "I enjoy the old school mix of Christmas carols and holiday music."
Judge Jana thought, it was "a very charming Christmas scene."
Judge Lila thought it all came together in a great theme

Champion of Fun
The Canterwood/Cross Creek cul-de-sac in Saugus
Judge Michele noted, "This is one of the reasons that the SCV is such a great place to live. Fantastic!"
Judge Lila wrote, "It's a delight for a drive-through Christmas display."
Judge Jana and Judge Jim loved the 13-foot Christmas tree in the center of the street.

Champion of Community Spirit
The Luminaria displays at Clearidge Drive, Essex Place, Mansfield Court and Meraweather Place in Valencia
Every year the Signal crew arrives very late to view these streets lined with luminaria (tea lights in plastic milk cartons). But even if some of them have gone out by that time we are always impressed by what Judge Michele described as "a massive undertaking that is much admired and appreciated."

Best Street Emeritus
Wakefield Court in Saugus
Though Wakefield voluntarily took itself out of our official contest again this year, it still remains a must-see for anyone desiring to be astounded by a neighborhood light display. Neighbors gather in open garages or around fires in driveways, and pedestrians stroll by. The Wakefield residents want to remind that there is a charitable aspect to their presentation. Visitors are asked to donate to the SCV Winter Shelter and Toys for Tots.



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