Over the past decade, if you have driven up Weber Street, just north of Lancaster Street, you have probably seen the extravagant display of Christmas lights at 104 Weber St.
And if you have stopped to take a picture, you may have been lucky enough to spot Richard Friedrich and his wife Maryanne dressed up as Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
Friedrich says it takes about four days to set the whole thing up unless there is nasty weather.
“Sometimes I have to take a week off work to do it,” he explained.
The effort pays off when Friedrich and his wife see the look on people’s faces as they enjoy his work.
“We’ve both always loved Christmas and just we started with lights and then we started seeing all the kids in the neighbourhood or people driving by looking at them,” he said.
“So we just kept adding and adding and then just every time you keep seeing people smile, you just want to keep adding more.”
Things don’t usually light up at 104 Weber St. until December but with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, the light show was launched early.
“Normally we don’t start Santa Claus till December but with no Santas in the malls, the kids have to be able to at least see it,” Friedrich said.
“A big part of Christmas is the kids, not us. And as long as they can see Santa or say ‘hi’ to Santa, that’s all that matters.”
Because of the pandemic, they have added a new feature at the side of their house to allow people to get family photos while social distancing.
“We’ve got the manger above the fence in the back there, right below it. We’ve added a Christmas scene with trees and blow molds and all that and put a bench there with a sign, Christmas 2020,” Friedrich explained.
He says people have even brought their pets for pics with Santa.
So far, he says people have been pretty respectful about maintaining proper social distancing.
“On an average day, we might get 20 people stopping by the house for photos but we constantly have cars stopping in front of the house for photos,” Friedrich said.
He and his wife have created a Facebook page, Weber St Santa, which shows people when they will get a chance to see the big man in the red suit and his lovely lady friend at the house.