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Athens Christmas display containing hundreds of thousands of lights raises money for charity

An Athens Christmas lights display raises money for local charity
There are over 200,000 lights in the McGregors' Christmas display in Athens.

For the eighth year, the McGregor family in Athens, Ont., has put on a Christmas display that wows visitors every time.

Hundreds of thousands of lights and Christmas inflatables cover the family’s property and home.

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“We’ve never counted [the lights]. We don’t bother counting, because we add right through the time that we run,” says Laura McGregor. “So what we start with is not what we finish with.”

Laura and Bill McGregor, along with their nine-year-old daughter Reba, estimate there are over 200,000 lights covering their two-and-a-half-acre property.

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It’s a labour of love.

“On the cold nights you gotta wonder,” says Bill McGregor with a large smile.

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Families visit the McGregor display from all over the region, some coming from Ottawa and many visiting family from Australia and England.

“It’s just fun seeing the kids react when they come here, especially when Santa is here,” says Bill. “They get to see Santa and their eyes light up.”

“Even the adults who have lost their Christmas spirit — in a sense, they come out, a kid at heart,” says Laura.

To visit the display is completely free of charge, but donations are welcome.

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Since the family began the wonderland of lights as it has been called, it has raised close to $17,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).

“We just chose it. CHEO is because they help the kids, and Christmas is for the kids,” says Laura.

“To us, it just made sense.”

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Along with the thousands of lights, there are over 200 Christmas inflatables.

Pathways wind through the lights and displays with Christmas music playing in the background.

The couple start stringing lights in early October.

“We start setting up on October 1st before Halloween and it’s the only way to do it.”

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The McGregors’ Christmas display turns on at dusk every day and will run until Dec. 31, when everything has to come down.

“If the weather is nice, we can do her in a week,” says Bill.

“But if the weather is not nice, it can take up till June,” Laura says, laughing.

The display can be found at 579 County Park Rd. in Athens.