Camelot lawn looks – and sounds – alive with Christmas|[12/15/06]

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 15, 2006

They decided on a different type of season’s greeting this year.

And while it doesn’t look like much during the day, at night, the home and lawn of Kent Turner and his family at the end of Castle Road in Camelot comes to life in a choreography of dancing and twinkling to an amazing Christmas music symphony.

&#8220It’s almost like conducting an orchestra,” Turner said.

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He and his 17-year-old son, Stephen, started the process the day after Christmas last year by shopping sales for the 25,000 lights and more than 50 extension cords that drape their lawn.

&#8220We started the first of the choreography during the summer and finished everything Thanksgiving weekend,” Turner said.

Until Jan. 1, they say, the show will run nightly with the trees, stars, bears, deer and candy canes dancing in the moonlight to a trio of musical selections performed by the Trans Siberian Orchestra.

The music is broadcast on 94.3 FM via a low-power transmitter in their home.

&#8220I just walked around with my radio through the yard to find a station that didn’t really pick up anything else,” said Turner, a computer scientist at ERDC.

During designated hours each night, the transmitter plays &#8220Carol of the Bells,” &#8220Wizards in Winter” and &#8220Queen of the Winter Night” in sync with the light show.

The idea came from a display done by Carson Williams, an Ohio electrical engineer who introduced his Christmas light spectacular in 2004 with 15,000 lights. A plus for neighbors, who might grow weary of loudspeakers, is the use of the broadcast signal to provide the accompaniment for people in their cars.

Software behind the display is called Light-O-Rama. Williams posted the instructions on how to choreograph such a show online. And that’s how the Turners’ show was born.

&#8220It walks you through how to do it,” Turner said as he demonstrated on his laptop how he programmed each light.

The family has lived at the home for 19 years, and they all agree they’ll see how this year’s decorations go before committing to another show next year.

&#8220It started out almost as a dare, and now it’s gotten a little out of hand,” said Turner’s wife, Becky.

Although traffic might clog the street the closer it gets to Christmas, the Turners don’t mind. And they would never think about charging anyone to see their holiday presentation.

&#8220It’s like a Christmas gift for everyone,” she said.

And in case it’s not clear when it’s time for the show to end, the Turners have programmed &#8220Good Night” from the Beatles’ White Album as the lights fade to dark.

&#8220It’s a good way to end it,” Kent Turner said.

While sharing the spirit of the season with Vicksburg, the Turners do have one wish at the top of their Christmas list – a not-so-outrageous Entergy bill once January rolls around.