Santa Elves Busy in Interlochen

December 2011 — The elves who bring us the wonderful Interlochen Christmas Lights year after year are just ordinary folks who love sharing the spirit of the season with all the thousands of families who visit the neighborhood during the holidays. Many have watched this tradition grow from an idea by longtime resident and original developer Bob Findlay to a big time event that draws tourists from all over the Metro area and is known throughout the world.

The 35-year free light parade continues thanks to both new and longtime neighbors who say they cherish seeing the sheer delight on the faces of the visitors. The good folks of Interlochen value the tradition so much they share the merriment by recycling their unused decorations with others in the iconic lakeside neighborhood, and a group of them volunteer to assist elderly neighbors with the task of decorating for the crowds.

When the city of Arlington chose to cut its traffic patrols due to budget tightening, the homeowners found a way to keep the police on duty thanks to a former neighbor. This year as in 2010 traffic control costs are underwritten by a donation from UTA professor Allan Saxe, who says he just couldn’t imagine Christmas without the lights of Interlochen.

And so it continues. With creativity and hard work by hundreds of resident “elves” who participate; enthusiasm from generations of families for whom visiting the Arlington attraction is a Christmas custom; and to all who celebrate the joy of the Christmas season.

The lights tour officially kicks off Friday, Dec. 16, with police controlling traffic for eight nights. On Dec. 16-18 and Dec. 21-22 the hours are from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.; and from Dec. 23-25, they’re extended an hour, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. The entrance point is the intersection of Randol Mill Road and Westwood Drive.

In addition to the majesty of miles of twinkling lights, some of what you might find on the tour:

v Symphonic music played by a cast of animated snowman musicians

v A Charlie Brown Christmas in storyboard characters

v A serene manger scene complete with beautifully dressed figures

v A wonderland of windows full of Christmas charm

v A tropical trip back in time to vintage holidays

v An old-fashioned train winding its way through one lawn

v Santa taking a fishing break on a boat in the middle of the lake