Edmontonians flock to see Christmas lights during a very dark year

Click to play video: 'Edmontonians flock to see Christmas lights during a very dark year' Edmontonians flock to see Christmas lights during a very dark year
On the shortest day of the longest year, there's a need for light and hope amidst the darkness. Fletcher Kent has more on how that is playing out in Edmonton. – Dec 21, 2020

Christmas at Bob’s is a home in south Edmonton with 145 thousand Christmas lights hanging on and around it.

Bob Fedina has been putting up the elaborate light display for nearly two decades. This year, the spectacular sight offers a welcome distraction, after what has been a long, dark year for many, including young Cole Borromeo.

“I think you told me you miss seeing your friends at school, right,” asks Cole’s father, Ryan. Cole responds with a dejected sounding, “yeah.”

Ryan Borromeo later explains, “trying to balance everything in the climate that we have has been tough on us, just like everybody else.”

Eric Beck/Global News

145,000 lights adorn Bob Fedina’s south Edmonton home. A handmade two-story waving snowman sits in the yard. A nutcracker carousel goes in and out of Fedina’s garage and nearly every square centimetre of his property is bathed in light.

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Cole Borromeo wanders through the yard with wide eyes and a cell phone camera, taking it all in. His father says, “You have to enjoy the great things like Bob does for us every single year, especially in these hard times.”

READ MORE: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation-themed home with 34,000 lights inspires holiday spirit in Stony Plain.

Fedina says he began decorating his house as a way to impress his girlfriend — and it worked. They married, had kids and now those kids have left home. During that time, Fedina has found new reasons to keep putting up the lights.

“I enjoy it. It gives me joy,” he says. “Little kids – it’s fun to see their eyes. They just love to look at stuff.”

Fedina has said this year has been different for everybody. Uncertainty is everywhere. He hopes his house can offer a sort of peace.

A snowman feature at ‘Christmas at Bob’s’. Eric Beck/Global Edmonton

“Is there going to be work in January is kind of a big question now,” he says. “Everyone needs some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. Just something to get through so you feel like a person.”

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“That’s what the show is about, take time to breath. Just relax and forget about stuff and just breathe.”

These are now the shortest days of what feels like the longest year. It’s a time many seek hope and light in that darkness. A lot of that may be figurative but there is comfort in the literal light, too. It’s symbolic but the hope people feel here is real.

“It’s just a nice feeling, it puts a smile on people’s faces,” says Ryan Musgrove.

Linda Swyck stands next to him and says, “I just enjoy it. It really lifts my spirits.”

Everyone walking past Fedina’s home say the lights help.

Eric Beck/Global Edmonton. Eric Beck/Global Edmonton

Nichol Babiak says, “It’s incredible to see all these people coming together but staying apart.”

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“Everyone understands that there is Christmas cheer needed. We do need the magic right now so [Bob] is providing that for a lot of people, so that’s incredible.”

The light and hope isn’t limited to Bob’s house. For the past few weeks, cars have been driving up and down Candy Cane Lane looking at the displays along the iconic west-Edmonton street.

This past weekend, drivers queued up for blocks waiting to see the lights.

READ MORE: Magic of Lights returns to Castrol Raceway

South of the city, hours-long waits have met people hoping to see the light display at Castrol Raceway.

Back at Bob Fedina’s, young Cole Borromeo stops wandering through the yard. He picks a spot and sets up his phone on a small tripod. He takes a picture and then turns the camera on himself.

Cole then dances, bathed in the glow of the lights and everything they represent.

Cole Borromeo dances at the Christmas at Bob’s display.

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