A massive Christmas light display is illuminating the night on Jersey Drive in Cloverdale.
Homeowners Dan and Andrea Bonneteau’s big display is back up this year after the couple chose not to set up their lights last year. (Andrea was recovering from a car accident 12 months ago and was physically unable to do the work. The pair share the set up, which Andrea calls a “huge undertaking.”)
Now, with the display complete, the house at 16951 Jersey Drive is attracting both people and donations.
Andrea said they’ve always had a charity component as part of their light display. This year the Bonneteaus decided to support Cloverdale’s Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank.
“We’ve collected a lot of money over the years, for different charities,” she said. “We’ve done Variety, the Children’s Charity of B.C., we’ve done the Surrey hospital NICU, but this year we decided to go local.”
After taking a tour of the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank, which is run out of the Cloverdale Community Kitchen, the Bonneteaus decided it was a great cause.
However, they aren’t taking any non-perishable food items, just monetary donations, as it helps the foodbank purchase much-needed items, things that often aren’t donated.
The Bonneteaus have been putting up their display for about 15 years. This year they started Oct. 25 and finished just over a month later on Nov. 27. Andrea said there are thousands of lights, hundreds of blow-mould characters, and many inflatables.
“The blow-mould decorations are very hard to get in Canada,” Andrea explained. “They are old-fashioned plastic Christmas decorations. You have to put a single light bulb in there to light it up. We have a beautiful Nativity scene with the Three Wise Men and Mary and Joseph and Jesus and some animals. We’ve had (the Nativity) for a long time.”
They also have waterfall-style lights on the roof that cascade down creating a “unique” effect.
“We’ve also got four-foot high angels in the front yard,” Bonneteau added. The angels are situated on pillars overlooking the gardens.
“We’ve also got a lot of ground-cover lights. It makes our display different from a lot of other displays because it adds another dimension to the experience, top to bottom.”
And she said everything is “serenaded” by Christmas music.
So far, the Bonneteaus have received great feedback from the community and many neighbours have said they’re glad the big display has returned this year.
“Everybody loves it,” Andrea added. “Even just a local people walking by. They’re so happy that we’re doing it again. Kids come by and just sit on the sidewalk. They yell, ‘We’re so glad you’re doing it.’ So it’s been a lot of fun.”
For about four years, they also had train rides up and down the street. The rides, by donation, with all money collected also going to charity, have been offered by the same people who operate the Bear Creek Park train.
Andrea said the train rides may return this year, but one of the trains was damaged in the recent windstorm, so she doesn’t yet know if it can be repaired before Christmas.
“A lot of kids have been asking about the train rides,” she noted. “It’s a lot of fun for the community. We always have a lot of people show up for it.