Santa talks to kids and gives out candy canes every Friday and Saturday night until Christmas at 1005 East 20th. Read more about it below.
Welcome to fifth revision for 2017 of my annual guide to Christmas lights of Hutchinson, Kansas. It's somewhat subjective of course, but with travelers of limited time in mind, I've listed the major concentrations, theme neighborhoods and a few exceptional homes for your Yuletide cruising enjoyment. I update this throughout December as more people decorate.
First off, probably the biggest draw of recent years, the music-synchronized home of Jason Rose, 1004 College Lane, is not decorated this year as Jason has moved and is still working on his new place. He says he'll have something cool next year.
Grandma's House and the Countryside Addition
If you've got very little time in Hutchinson, the one Christmas site you have to see is the most unique: "Grandma's House," the lawn at 25 Countryside Drive. Grandma's House is densely populated with automations built by retired nuclear scientist Dale Hankins. Each mechanical grandchild is on its way to Hankins' house via a different mode of transportation. Most of the motors are those used in ice cream makers.
Dale built most of these over a twenty-year period, when his wife, Elizabeth (Betty) was alive. She passed away in 2009.
Here's a video I shot in 2013 as it snowed on the display, which looks the same today, minus the sailboat which is not used this year, and the roller coaster, which is permanently retired. Dale stopped adding new pieces a couple years ago as he says he's out of space and is at his electrical capacity. For background information see our posts from 2007 and 2008
Catty-cornered from Grandma's House you'll see the display of Cheryl Cox, Dale's daughter.
Nearly across Countryside Dr. from Grandma's House you'll see a family Christmas tree sign.
The roofline choo-choo on Countryside Dr. is a nice minimal touch.
The vintage red truck is at the NE corner of Carlton Road and Curtis Drive. New for 2017 is the assist by a reindeer. Santa and a bear are at the wheel.
One the block west of the truck, at 108 Carlton Rd. is this display with fine usage of projection lights on a tree.
The "North of 30th Avenue" Tour
Using 3oth and Monroe as a starting point, I've put together a mini-tour of the lights north of 30th, east of Monroe and west of Halstead.
Going west to 30th and Monroe St. you'll find this highly color saturated home at 3001 North Monroe. In addition to lots of LED lights, they've chosen to use their house as a canvas for colored floodlights and have "Glory to God" and "Peace on Earth" signs." There's also a manger scene that faces 30th Avenue. Continue north on Monroe and turn west on Dartmouth.
On the NW corner of Dartmouth Rd. and Radcliffe Terrace you'll find a 12' Grinch and his dog Max, who casts a big shadow.
Go north back to Monroe and do north. Then turn west on 56th to continue your tour.
A loving message from grandparents to a grandson battling cancer can be seen at 1618 West 56th. Randy and Lynn Shultz wish a Merry Christmas to their grandson, Gabe, in cursive green rope lights. Convenient red tail light steaks from a passing car gave me some red to contrast the green.
Now, go back east to Monroe and turn north.
The northernmost attraction I am listing is Santa's Workshop at 6420 North Monroe, where a U-shaped driveway furnishes some lights. Here's a video
I shot in 2014; it's pretty much the same this year.
Upon leaving the Santa's Workshop driveway, go back south on Monroe and turn east at 43rd.
Some houses in the twisty, curvy neighborhood known as Foothill Estates still display large wooden Christmas cards, though this is a fading tradition. This is north of 43rd, beginning with Pagoda and ending with Sequoia. This is usually slow in happening and many may not be up until mid-December.
Go back to 43rd and head east.
As you intersect north Lorraine you'll see a house to the north along Lorraine with a color-changing Christmas tree in the window and an electronic sign reading "Merry Christmas."
The farm of David and Cindy Ward, on the south side of 43rd between Lorraine and Panorama, has lights on a barn and windmill. They tell me they'll have lights on their house too in a few days. The address is 1703 East 43rd.
David Ward poses in his Yuletide landscape.
This concludes my loose tour of lights north of 30th Street between Monroe and Halstead. I'll list some neighborhoods now.
Hyde Park looks good anytime in the Christmas season but one particular night it really shines.
A 2016 snow showcased the NE corner of 19th St. and Adams in the Hyde Park area. The same lights dot the yard in 2017...now, if it'd just snow again.
This resident at 201 West 20th displays a collection of blow mold Santas.
East 22nd Ave., AKA Friesen's Additions
The largest season-long area of Christmas lights is a half-mile square area of perimeter lights that covers most lawns from East 17th to 23rd Avenues and Meadowlark Lane to North Lorraine St. The tradition started a number of years ago on East 22nd Avenue and typically begins Thanksgiving weekend and lasts until New Years.
1005 East 20th is easily the most trafficked home this year, due to visits from Santa (top of page) and the radio-synced light show. Tune your radios to 106.7 and remember Santa will be there every Friday and Saturday night from 6 p.m. to whenever the crowds thin.
The top of a nearby home at 25 Meadowlark Lane shows great color saturation at dusk.
A home at 1023 East 22nd illustrates an element that's predominant this year - green lawns.
Within this area, part of East 20th Avenue displays blow mold candy canes.
Though most use white mini-lights at perimeter lights, this resident at 1 Meadowlark Lane uses plastic jugs. (another view
A mid-century-ish sign in front of a house along Meadowlark Lane wishes us a Merry Christmas.
The home of Fred Marciano at 455 Justice has had this great display for the past few years.
This is another corner of the yard at 455 Justice.
In fact, the block from Avenue G north for quite a few houses is a dense little Christmas oasis as seen in this home on the east side of Justice.
This was 2016 but it looks much the same in 2017.
And here's another from that block.
1701 Carey Blvd uses a back-projected Santa. It works on this dark porch. in lighter areas on many hoes, it does not.
Houston Whiteside Historic District
The Houston Whiteside Historical District has a number of decorated homes. The district is roughly bordered by the BNSF railroad tracks on the North, Avenue B on the South, Elm Street to the West and Pershing Street to the East.
610 East Sherman has added music-synchronized Christmas trees. These are the ones that used to be at the First Nazarene Church on North Monroe.
718 East Sherman
added two impressive angels for 2017.
Southwest Bricktown is the name for the neighborhood centering around Avenue A School. It is bordered by 2nd Avenue on the north, Main Street on the east, Avenue E on the south and Hendricks St. on the west. This house at 211 West Avenue B has been decorated for at least the last two years.
This is a 2016 photo that I'll update later.
Returning for 2017 is this animated light frame train atop Anchor Away between Avenue A and Avenue B on South Adams.
The Art Deco Reno County Courthouse looks in the background. This was after a show a few years ago. The display looks the same now.
The College Grove neighborhood spans from the south end of the Kansas State Fairgrounds to the north, to 11th St. to the south, Main St. to the west and a chunk of houses north of Hutchinson Community College to the east.
The Johnsons, 400 East 12th Ave., always have a display that mixes classic blow molds and wood stand-ups.
Trinity United Methodist Church, 1602 North Main Street, displays a life-size Nativity set that was passed on to it from the now-defunct Peques Department store, downtown.
A projection screen on a porch at 201 East 14th Ave shows a religious message. Set your radio to 89.7 FM.
The Larkland neighborhood spans from 30th St. on the north to 27th on the south and Main St. on the west and Plum St. to the east.
I think the striking thing about this display on Circle Drive near Plum isn't the amount of nylon inflatables, but rather the fact that it looks like an island of color and light in the relative darkness.
Mill Creek Crossing
Mill Creek Crossing, a housing development north of 17th Ave. and east of Hendricks has street lamps decorated with red lights.
Most mailboxes in the Wesbrook Addition, west of Hendricks and north of 17th Ave., bear lights of red and green. (another picture
The toney Willowbrook area features two rows of three trees each with an impressive density of multicolored lights.
Colorful lights characterize the bushes at 3502 Thunderbird.
This was last year after a show but the site looks much the same this year.
The Woodlands is a subdivision at the NE edge of Hutchinson, across 30th St. from Prairie Dune country club. Christmas lighting is generally characterized by white lights outlining the architecture of houses.
2500 Hawthorn Lane has densely decorated trees.
The constellation of Orion hangs over this colorful tree near the entrance to the Sand Hills development.
Prairie Hills is a development not far from Prairie Dunes Country Club on the NE corner of Hutchinson. Like other wealthier areas, Christmas lighting is generally characterized by white lights outlining the architecture of houses, but there's a spot of color here and there.
I'm not usually a fan of laser dots, but this is an exception.
A toyland menagerie gazes at motorists from 3119 Inverness. This was last year but they also have a display in 2017.
Main Street (going north to south)
The Medicine Shop at 1401 North Main Street, one of my favorite bits of Hutchinson architecture, is outlined with red lights again this year, though a pesky security light added in 2017 distracts from the red lights. I'm glad I shot this photo prior to that. An unattributed magazine article on the wall inside states that this was Ted's Service, a Sinclair station, before becoming a pharmacy in 1970. The structure is Hutchinson's best example of mimetic architecture - that is, a building designed to mimic something else, in this case, a castle.
Harley's Bicycles at 629 North Main displays a vintage Harold Gale Display Company Santa as they've had from many years. This year it's standing by a bicycle.
This style of wreath with bells is used along Main and a little bit of some side streets from Avenue A to the BNSF railroad tracks at about 3rd Avenue. In 2013 the incandescent lights in the wreaths seen above were replaced with cool white LED lights.
Long's clothing store has a couple small Santas made by Harold Gale. Both hang from parachutes.
"In blackest night," Darren Morawitz' Green Lantern symbol beams from the south side of The Tower Apartments at 2nd and Main.
In 2014, new LED lights were added to downtown from about Avenue C to 3rd Street. I couldn't resist shooting when a convenient snowstorm occurred that year. We haven't had a good snowstorm since
The Antique District is between Avenue A and Avenue D on Main.
The most prominent Yuletide feature of the Antique District is this light frame helicopter atop the Anchor Inn at Main Street and Avenue B.
Mrs. Claus was added in 2015.
The Antique district displays lighted pole decorations featuring nostalgic graphics.
The Toy Depot, 127 South Main, seen in 2016. It is almost identical this year. I'll pop in an updates photo soon.
The pressed tin ceiling of Smith's Market is seen beyond this modern life-size window Santa. Here's a full view
Just off Main near the very south end at 18 West Avenue G, one can find this tribute to Jack Skellington and Zero by Matt Wilcox.
Various notable displays
There are lots of cool Christmas houses just dotted around here and there, not part of a cohesive neighborhood.
2017 is the second year for the singing Christmas trees of tthe Carson family, 800 West 24th Ave. Set your radio to 106.7.
I've admired the way the folks at 822 East Avenue A use an alcove in their exterior architecture as a crèche.
It's really a neat feature.
This house and gazebo are seen reflected in a pond from 17th Ave, looking north, just east of Rice Park.
As one approaches from the east, stars on the house are more visible.
107 East 9th, by request.
Really Big Stars
Cargill's grain elevator near 3rd Ave and K-61 features a decades-old star. See more in this blog post
. I remember in the 1970s one could see stars atop grain elevators in the distance all over the place. This is not the case anymore.
Hutchinson Community College has a Merry Christmas sign and star atop Lockman Hall, visible along the east side of North Plum Street just north of East 11th Ave. If you're lucky enough to have snow, you can have some fun photographing this as there's an electronic message sign just out of frame that lends various colors to the snow. I opted for a moment with deep blue.
The First Presbyterian Church at 201 East Sherman has star patterns made of lights atop its tower.
The city of South Hutchinson uses colored spotlights on some of its trees.
The Barretts at 204 South Walnut in South Hutchinson have illuminated their home in a fashion that draws attention from hwy 96 a block away. There is also a speaker on the lawn playing Christmas music. Santa is scheduled to be there Saturday, December 16, at 7 p.m.
Mennonite Friendship Communities, 600 W. Blanchard, has a cool star atop the main building. It was built by a resident.
Christmas Events Yet to Come
Dec 20 - Hutchinson Zoo Light Show
The Hutchinson Zoo has decided to extend their lightshow and add two additional dates: "Due to the overwhelming support, we will be hosting the light show encore this Friday December 15th from 5:30 - 7:00pm and also Wednesday December 20th from 5:30 - 7:00pm. "
The zoo's train will not be running.
Starting Dec 15 - Polar Express at the Cos
Starting December 15 and running through New Year's Eve, the Kansas Cosmosphere will show The Polar Express in its digital dome theatre. The dates and times they list are Dec. 15-23, 26-27 & 29-31 at 7:00 p.m. and Dec. 28 at 9 p.m. It's always a good idea to check their website
before you go.
Dec 21 - Third Thursday
On Third Thursday, December 21, the Reno County Museum will host free Christmas cookie decorating with frosting, sprinkles and sugar cookies from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. or until supplies run out. The limit is one cookie per person.
There will be a live nativity at Eagle Media Park, NW corner of 9th and Main on the evening of December 21st (also Third Thursday).
I shoot new pictures of it every year, but I just can't not use this shot of backlit camel breath from 2013.
Dec 23 - Hyde Park Luminaria
Hyde Park looks good anytime in the Christmas season but one particular night it really shines.
Hyde Park is the scene of Hutchinson's biggest Christmas event, the Hyde Park luminaria, during which 36 square blocks - east to west from Main to Monroe and north to south from 23rd to 18th - display luminaria sacks (candles in bags anchored with sand). This year the luminaria is Saturday, December 23rd. For more info and pictures see Hyde Park Luminaria in Hutchinson
and The Hyde Park Luminaria, 2012
There are usually free buggy rides. The luminaria began in 1983 and has occurred every year since, except for 2007 when it was cancelled due to the ice storm.
Dec 25 - A Christmas Movie on Christmas Day
The Fox Theatre will show "Elf" on Christmas Day at 8 p.m.
Christmas Recent Past
The 2017 Hutchinson Christmas parade happened November 18. For a general sense of the parade, see my 2014 recording
. For some other past Christmas parade adventures, see these tales of a dinosaur
and a muffler man head
. In 2007 I looked at signs along the parade route
and in 2008 I looked at people
The Fox Theatre hosted live performances of A Prairie Nutcracker
on December 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. and December 10 at 3 p.m.
The Fox also hosted The Celtic Tenors and the Hutchinson Symphony for a Christmas show on December 14.
This post is dedicated to Patsy Terrell, 1961-2017. She is seen here in the 2016 Hutchinson Christmas parade, on a float celebrating her election to the Kansas House of Representatives.
If you have any suggestions for events or displays that should be noted here, please comment or write me at email@example.com.
Joplin, MO, Christmas Lights, 2016
Webb City, MO, Christmas Lights, 2017
Carthage, MO, Christmas Lights, 2017
Perennial Christmas Lights of Wichita, Kansas
Pittsburg, KS, Christmas Lights, 2015
Oronogo, MO, Christmas Lights, 2015