Family uses almost 400,000 lights to create Christmas extravaganza
December 6, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
The effort to install holiday lights on the Ginnaty home just outside city limits along the base of Tiger Mountain starts the weekend after Labor Day.
Jeri Ginnaty flips the switch on the estimated 350,000 to 400,000 lights on Thanksgiving night. The attraction lures Christmas light seekers down the rural road to see illuminated strand after illuminated strand.
The super-sized tradition started more than a decade ago, after Ginnaty traded a more modest display — a mere 50,000 lights — for a multicolored tribute to the season.
“It just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger,” he said.
The family added donation bins for Toys for Tots and the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank in recent seasons. Ginnaty donated about $3,000 in toys and 2,000 pounds of food last year.
If you go
Ginnaty holiday light display
9325 240th Ave. S.E.
The display remains illuminated nightly through the weekend after New Year’s Day.
Santa Claus is due to appear from 6-9 p.m. nightly from Dec. 9-17. Drop off donations to Toys for Tots and the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank in the driveway donation bins.
Wanted: holiday light displays
Before Christmas arrives, The Issaquah Press seeks spectacular — or just plain nice — light displays to feature.
Email your contact information and, if possible, a photo of your illuminated light display to email@example.com. Or contact the newspaper on Twitter at www.twitter.com/issaquahpress, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/issaquahpress.
Onlookers can see illuminated reindeer leap across the street and more than a mile of light strands on a tall tree behind the house. The decorators used a lift to install a star 85 feet up the trunk.
Ginnaty settled in the Issaquah area in 1996 and started to decorate the house then.
“When we first moved out there, nobody put any lights up, but now there’s a few lights here and there,” he said.
Ginnaty started hanging holiday lights after a fateful call to his wife, then a Mervyns employee.
“She was working the day after Thanksgiving. I had the day off, and I was thinking about it,” he said. “I called her up and I said, ‘Hey, bring me home 3,000 lights’ and she said, ‘Are you crazy?’”
In early autumn, family members come to the house to help hang lights and install decorations. Ginnaty spends hours hanging lights, often in the rain.
The reward is the chance to see onlookers’ faces light up upon glimpsing the Christmas display.
Ginnaty’s grandson, Joseph Charest, a freshman at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, said the decorations represent a labor of love.
“We don’t just put icicles up,” Charest said. “Icicles are a last-minute detail on our house.”
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.