Arline Reynolds is just tickled that she gets to flip the switch next week and turn on all of the Christmas lights.
Her late husband, A.W. "Mac" Reynolds Jr., had the honor until he died about four years ago. He would pull the switch, and more than a million lights would come on.
"He loved it. He loved Christmas. It was one of his favorite times of the year, getting the family together. And those lights meant a lot to him," said Arline, 92, Fishers. She'll pull the switch at 4 p.m. Nov. 22 for the Reynolds Farm Equipment 19th annual Christmas light display, which runs through Jan. 1.
She loves seeing the thousands of lights in the huge Christmas display that her family started in 1992. "I just think they're great. I'm excited when I turn on the lights."
Arline gets a smile on her face as she looks at the lighting display that covers 7 acres along Ind. 37 just south of 126th Street in Fishers. Mac Reynolds died in January 2008; they would have been married 70 years that following December. They opened Reynolds Farm Equipment on 116th Street in December 1955 and moved to the current property at 12501 Reynolds Drive, Fishers, in 1972. Today, there are six stores and 220 employees.
It all started when some employees decorated a John Deere model D tractor. They thought it would be good fun to use green, yellow and white chasing lights.
The next year, then-welder and fabricator (now corporate service manager) Brian Jacobs, 44, Middletown, custom-made steel antlers that were mounted to the hood of nine tractors. They were displayed on stacked metal tractor crates to resemble Rudolph and his eight reindeer in formation pulling Santa Claus on his sleigh up into the sky.
The third year, the lights really took to the skies when Jacobs began his magic of helping design and lay out Christmas figurine ideas. He would draw with chalk on the cement floor as a pattern for the design of a figurine, then weld the steel together for lights to adorn. One time it was a horse and carriage. He drew the horse and welded each piece of steel, then painted the steel figurines white, which reflects and shows up better after dark. Welder Alvin Cave, 46, Pendleton, has done the design work the past three years.
The fourth year came the addition of the first designed Christmas train that travels around the property. Lawson can remember when push mowers powered the train, which was always jumping the tracks. This year, the track was revamped. A new roller-coaster styled track was designed and built. There's also a new building that will be the train depot.
In the early years of the holiday light display, they used boxes upon boxes of strands of lights, like most people put on their Christmas tree, Lawson said. About 10 years ago, they moved to a more efficient and bright type of lights: rope lighting, which allows for less exposure to the weather.
Still, employees must check every strand before putting up the display. Three of the company's lawn and garden technicians dedicate about 1,500 hours to set up the display; it's faster breaking down.