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Subdivision to light up streets

Riding around to look at Christmas lights can be hit or miss, unless you know just where to look.

One Thorsby subdivision is inviting the public to enjoy its Christmas lights display this Saturday.

Joyland Estates will host its annual luminaries event for the fifth year Saturday, Dec. 19 from 5 to 10 p.m.

Resident Shonda Copen said approximately 2,000 lights and bags will be used to illuminate the neighborhood.

“We originally began this as just something fun for our neighborhood to do,” Copen said. “We all work and go about our daily lives and hardly ever have the time to truly socialize with anyone we live by. This was one way we could all reserve a day or two to do something together.”

Each resident lights their sidewalk from property line to property line using plain white lunch sacks and tea lights. They also decorate their homes and yards with lights, deer and nativity scenes.

The first year, about 20 people drove through, but most were just friends. In recent years, the turnout has increased.

“Our guests have picked up the past two years, but we still want more people to come out and enjoy the lights,” Nicole Hilyer said. “There is something about this time of year and the decorations and lights. It just puts you in a whole new frame of mind.”

As the luminaries shine, the neighbors gather on what has come to be called the “party lot” and enjoy food, fun, fires and fellowship.They also help each other set up and clean up each year.

Resident Connie Sellers remembers, “The first year we did this, we were all out working on our own bags. All of a sudden, a neighbor who had finished his came and helped us out. Then we went and helped another, and it felt so good to be working together as a community.”

Joyland Estates is located at the end of Oak Street in Thorsby. Turn off Highway 31 between the post office and Garrison Farm & Home Center, and the subdivision will be on the right.

Visitors should note that the candles near the entrance are lit in memory of four special individuals — Aaron Hilyer, Richard Martin, David Causey and Lynn Ellison.