Those in search of the quintessential holiday lights display need to look no further than the Fairlands area of Pleasanton to satisfy their sugar plum-craving sweet tooth.
"Widmer-World," which can be found at 3671 Chelsea Court in Pleasanton, is an impressive lights display that covers not only the front yard and house but also draws visitors to the backyard, which has a winding pathway leading past toy displays created by Widmer and his daughters.
Patch caught up with Bob Widmer working in his backyard on the preparations for the upcoming opening night this Saturday.
Widmer, who recently retired from his job as software consultant, has been decking his yard for the holiday season since 1981 but in the last ten years Widmer says the display has gotten "pretty heavy." Widmer says he and his helpers start setting up the holiday vignettes as early as August. A crew of seven family members and friends help Widmer with the rigorous set-up process.
"The front display is all computer programmed to music," commented Widmer. "This is an accumulation of 30 years of decorations."
The holiday decorations are made possible each year as part of the Widmer family tradition. Widmer says they do not charge for entry but do take donations that they use toward a charity. When asked about his electric bill, Widmer laughed.
"I never tell anyone about my bill but think thousands," Widmer said.
Widmer says he enjoys hosting the light display every year.
"We have third generations of kids coming to see this now," he said. "I like to do this; it is fun."
Widmer expects anywhere from seven to ten thousand visitors from opening day on Dec. 1 to New Year's eve.
"We get quite a big group usually on New Year's eve," Widmer said.
There are so many different themed vignettes in Widmer's yard that it is easy to lose track. Each one has been carefully thought-out and assembled by one of the Widmer crew members. Kids and adults alike will be amazed by "Nutcracker Alley, Penguin Arctic Scene, Nativity Scene, Dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and Train Town."
According to Widmer, the biggest challenge is balancing the electricity among all of the various displays on a house current. When the decorations and displays are not in use, they are safely packed into sheds in Widmer's yard.
Once Widmer is done setting up his own elaborate displays, he says he also hangs the Christmas lights for a few of his older neighbors. The neighbors on either side of the Widmer's property also do some serious deocrating for the holiday season.
The Widmer clan will be participating in the annual Pleasanton Hometown Holiday Parade on Dec. 1. They have been in the parade every year since 2010.
Widmer-World will be open every day from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Santa visits Widmer-World on Dec. 7, 8, 14,15, 16, 21, 22, 23 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. There is no charge to visit Santa.
Check out the Widmer-World website for more information. Follow Widmer-World on Facebook.
Other holiday lights display around town:
- Candy Cane Lane which is located at 4000 block of Walnut Drive off Ray Street.
- Bob's World which is located at 2612 Calle Reynoso.
Lights of the Valley offers a list of holiday lights displays from all over California.
Have you been to Widmer-World? What is your favorite part? Tell us in the comment and share your memories of past Widmer-World visits.