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Christmas Light Display Draws Record Crowds
It takes months of planning and programming but the smiles are worth it, according to Bob and Alicia Crossman of their Atlas Road holiday display. This is just one tiny slice of the whole, with many neighbors joining in. Marg Jackson/The Leader

What started out as a fun hobby to spread Christmas cheer has blossomed into a light-fest extravaganza that has people driving into Oakdale to enjoy the show during the holidays.

Bob and Alicia Crossman started their epic light show about 15 years ago and it has grown to the dazzling display of more than 300,000 synchronized lights along Atlas Road that has kids and adults “oohing” and “ahhhhing” with the Christmas spirit.

“We started out with doing my house, then the center circle and then two neighbors doing it, too. It’s pretty neat. Everybody loves it,” Crossman said. “It’s a nice little community event that people are enjoying, especially this year.”

With lockdown restrictions putting the kibosh on long-range travel plans, the ability to drive past a labor-intensive Christmas display has put so many people into their cars and up the road that it’s actually created a traffic jam on Highway 108/120 during the weekends.

“This weekend was backed up to Big 5, I never imagined it would be like that,” Crossman said “It’s a great feeling. It’s always been about making people happy and seeing the smiles on kids’ faces. The whole neighborhood loves it and it’s brought our whole neighborhood together.”

Crossman starts building the display in October so it’s ready by December and runs through Jan. 1.

Crossman joked, “It takes two months to put up and four days to take down but we always have a good time.”

Crossman is quick to credit his wife, Alicia, for part of the light show success because she’s always been supportive of his vision … even if the light bill at the end of the season is enough to make the average person faint.

“I always make a big purchase at the end of the year. This usually turns out to be my big purchase,” Crossman said with a chuckle.

But he doesn’t mind and he’s always looking for new ideas to spread a little Christmas cheer.

Each year, more people sign up to help, which has created a village of Atlas elves working together to create some holiday magic.

Crossman combined his light show with charitable giving by joining forces with the local Center for Human Services three years ago, encouraging a donation for their seasonal fundraisers as the “price” of admission but only if the spirit moves people to contribute. Crossman wants everyone to enjoy the light show, regardless of their ability to contribute.

There’s still time to enjoy the light show if you’ve missed it. The hours of operation are 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; and 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday through Saturday.

The last day will be Friday, Jan. 1.