Elkhorn man lights up the season—and the countryside
ELKHORN Caution, motorists.
In addition to winter travel advisories, holiday light show gridlock is possible on County ES near Elkhorn.
At his farm on the County ES shortcut from County A to Highway 12 north of Elkhorn, Kevin Strickhouser gives new meaning to outdoor Christmas decorations. It doesn't look like much during the day, but once the sun goes down and he flips the switch, Strickhouser's display lights up the countryside.
The Strickhouser farm at W5355 County ES displays 150,000 lights synchronized on 384 channels to music broadcast on FM 88.5. His light show draws more than 400 amps from two 200-amp services—one at his house and one at his barn.
They call him "Power Man" for good reason.
"The last time we checked, we were drawing something like 515 amps," Strickhouser said. "Next year, I'm going to have to upgrade the system."
The dazzling, flashing light show draws onlookers in vehicles every evening along the curved county road. County ES is two-lane road, but no traffic problems have been reported as a result of cars stopping in front of Strickhouser's light show.
It all started when Strickhouser was a child growing up on the same farm.
"I've just always loved lights," he said. "That's about all there is to it."
But now it's what he calls a "Christmas light addiction."
Strickhouser's Christmas decorating at first consisted of static displays. The early displays were put on hold in 2004 when he lost the use of his left arm after being struck by a vehicle.
"I was hit by a drunk driver and became disabled," he said. "My passion was put on hold, although I continued to collect decorations."
He saw a YouTube video in 2009 featuring animated lighting.
"It changed my whole outlook," Strickhouser said. "In 2010, I put up my first animated display with 45,000 lights. Just like every other healthy addiction, mine grows bigger and bigger every year."
There's no deep meaning or message connected to the light show, Strickhouser said.
"At first, it was just a matter of liking lights," he said. "Now, every night I see people in their cars along the road enjoying the show. That's what keeps me going."
Strickhouser had to cut short the interview for this story.
"I spent about two and a half hours this morning fixing problems with the display, but I have more work to do before I turn it on for the evening," he said.
The light show will run from dusk to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and dusk to 10 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The last light show will be Monday, Dec. 31.