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Christmas light displays around Lincoln County dazzle motorists

Q: Where are the best places to look at Christmas lights?

A: One of the most enlivening parts of the holiday season is taking in the general splendor of ornamental outdoor displays.

Donald Mulford  has decorated his lawn at 3015 Red Star Drive every Christmas for the past three decades.

The 72-year-old pulls out all the stops, filling his and his two daughters’ yards with a single sprawling electrical diorama.

“It started when my grandson was born,” he said. “He’s the reason I started doing it.”

Mulford doesn’t keep track of how many lights he puts out, but it takes a great deal of effort on the parts of both his daughters, their husbands and himself to get everything assembled.

“There’s a bunch of lights out there, I’ll tell you that,” he said.

A live Santa Claus will be a part of Mulford’s display Dec. 15 and 16 from 6-9 p.m., and locals are encouraged to stop by and see him.

“We just try to change everything up each year to keep people coming,” he said.

Similarly, the Williamson family’s musical light show continues to draw crowds to their home at 632 Tanglewood Drive. The exhibit is synchronized to songs broadcast on 87.9 FM.

The Williamsons use the display to raise donations for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. They typically collect around $2,000 for the organization each holiday season.

Meanwhile, most local businesses have done a great deal to liven up downtown’s storefronts.

One of Brookhaven’s most intricate holiday exhibits can be found at Hurst Review Services’ office at 127 South Railroad Ave.

Owner Marlene Cupit said they had too many business obligations for them to participate in the annual parade so they put their creative energy toward the front of the business.

“Our hearts are in the parade and the Christmas celebration, so we chose instead to decorate our windows,” she said.

Cathy McDonnieal arranged several of Hurst’s past parade float props in the building’s windows and created a sort of holiday retrospective.

“We hope the community enjoys the decorations,” Cupit said.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Program Director Katie Nations is pleased with the recent increase in the sort of citywide holiday spirit expressed through Hurst’s display.

“I think, once the Chamber started their lighting project several years ago, it kind of caught on,” she said.

Brookhaven’s municipal Christmas display stretches from exit 40 on I-55 all the way to the edges of downtown, and Nations said the Chamber of Commerce hopes to expand the lighting onto Hwy. 51 and Brookway Boulevard in the future.

One of the city’s newest seasonal decorating efforts is the light exhibit at the Mississippi School of the Arts.

“The Tourism Council and Economy Committee has teamed up for a lighting display in front of Mary Jane Lampton auditorium,” Nations said. “We’re looking to expand on that in the future. We want to make it bigger every year, and get some sponsors.”

She also said the Tourism Council is lighting up the train car on the side of the interstate and topping it with a 7-foot bow.

Any business owners interested in sponsoring Brookhaven’s Christmas display can contact Nations at 601-833-1411.

“The great thing about enjoying the lights downtown is getting to also take advantage of what our wonderful local businesses have to offer,” she said.

If you know of a house with unique or outrageous decorations, let us know. Email trapper.kinchen@dailyleader.com.

Story by Trapper Kinchen