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Brock family makes season bright some 130,000 times

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Brock family makes season bright some 130,000 times

Corwin Brock, 5, watches his grandfather Dale Brock's train circle in the front yard just moments after turning on the 130,000 lights that are part of the Mercedes Avenue display across from Union ...

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin


POSTED December 10, 2009 1:59 a.m.
Corwin Snyder watched with youthful anticipation as the train his grandfather constructed worked its way around the Mercedes Avenue yard.

But it was the 130,000 Christmas lights that drew people from as far away as Roseville to take a glimpse at Dale Brock’s Christmas wonderland – a myriad of 40-foot-tall light-strewn trees that make the house and yard visible from blocks away.

Just as the twilight faded away Wednesday, onlookers on foot and those on vehicles began descending on the house across from Union West Park.

For Dale – a quiet PG&E construction worker that places a large emphasis on family – the interest that his creations have sparked is a humbling experience.

“A lot of the people come up and thank me for this, and it’s really something nice to hear,” Brock said. “There aren’t very many houses out there like this, and when people like yours it’s a nice compliment.”

The glitz and the glamour – which includes holiday music nightly and Santa Claus serving up treats and hot chocolate on Saturday nights – requires preparation as early as September.

With the assistance of his two brothers, their children, and his own children, Brock has done everything from constructing towers on the roof of his house that stretch more than 40-feet off the ground to cutting out and decorating plywood snowmen that dot what once resembled a lawn.

He even improved on the train system that he built to go around the Frosty the Snowman cutout. He elevated the track and stretched it around the entire yard allowing him to add another train with plans to expand further in coming seasons.

“I love Christmas because it’s a time about family, and doing these things together as a family is what really makes it great,” Brock said. “We just welcomed another grandson into the family, so hopefully when he’s a little bit older he’ll be able to carry on what has become a family tradition.”

Powering 130,000 lights
With the assistance of an electrician that helped him install 27 individual circuit breakers that are only used for the holiday display, Brock is able to safely power all of the lights that have made his home a Christmas fixture over the course of the last decade.

Just above the box sits an ordinary circuit-breaker cover that requires the flipping of 15 switches to turn on the majority of the display. The rest are handled from inside the house.

As a PG&E employee, Brock admits that his employee discount “helps out” when it comes to footing the bill for such a massive power drain, but has relied on friends and electrical professionals to help with the work in order to make sure everything is operating at the proper capacity.

The result is a spectacular display that turns the quiet residential street into a month-long destination for thousands of people.

Reacting to the scene
Manteca resident, Heather Hodges had seen the display for several years and decided to bring friend Myra Salazar down from Roseville to have a glimpse at what hard work, dedication, and Christmas spirit can achieve.

It was something that resonated immediately.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before in my entire life – I’m in law enforcement, and I drive around a lot, and this is unlike any display I’ve ever come across,” Salazar said. “I just got done saying that just looking at this right now makes it feel like Christmas to me.”

With just over two weeks left until Christmas, the awestruck are starting to come out en masse – drawing people like local Perry Fisher who took the scene in with his girlfriend Wednesday night.

“I’ve been coming here for years,” Fisher said. “I think that it’s awesome, and it’s nice to have something like this here in Manteca for people to enjoy.

“It shows a lot of celebration, and it shows a lot of kids that Santa is out here.”
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