The city of Overland Park will begin a new holiday tradition this year when it flips the switch on a light display set to music outside Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, 13800 Switzer Road.
By SARA BEANE
Special to The Star
Overland Park resident and technology entrepreneur Mark Callegari donated the display. For the last eight years, Callegari has placed the elaborate LED light display outside his home. Drivers passing by his house would tune into an FM station on their car radio and hear Christmas music synched up on a note-by-note basis with the light show.
“It was a well-kept secret for a long time,” Callegari said. “Over the years, people found out about it and the bus and limo tours started. Traffic really picked up the last couple of years. My neighbors had not complained, but I realized it was time to find a new home for it and someone suggested Deanna Rose.”
The centerpiece of the display is Callegari’s own creation — a 22-foot, 700-pound plastic and metal tree called the “Ultimate Holiday Tree” — that was once featured on the HGTV show “All Out Christmas.” The tree will be mounted on the outside of the buildings at Deanna Rose and will feature thousands of LED lights, giving the display a video-like effect.
People will be able to pull into the parking lot at Deanna Rose, tune their car radio to 98.5 FM and enjoy a light display choreographed to several popular holiday songs.
The display will also include a whimsical tree forest, giant spheres and a 20-foot star that changes colors.
City officials said they are not planning a formal ceremony for Thanksgiving night when they turn the lights on after dark. They are choosing to have a soft opening so they can observe traffic patterns and work out potential kinks. After Thanksgiving, the display will run nightly from 5 to 10 p.m. through Jan. 5.
The city is well aware that Callegari’s light display has a large following.
“People that have seen it say it is outstanding,” Overland Park spokesman Sean Reilly said. “Now that he is bringing it to a larger venue, it is a benefit to him and the community as well.”
For 56-year-old Callegari, the “Ultimate Christmas Tree” has mostly been quite a hobby. He’s even taken the past year off from other projects to focus on getting the Deanna Rose display ready for its debut.
“You feel like you are making so many people happy,” Callegari said. “I want to make sure they all have a place to go, and hopefully they will like it better.”