by LIBBY CUDMORE • Special To AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA –Julie Dostal knows the importance of family traditions at the holidays.
“When I was growing up (in Atlanta), my mom and dad piled us all in the car and drove us around town to ooh and aah at the Christmas lights,” said LEAF Inc.’s executive director “I know a lot of people who have that same awesome memory with their families.”
Now, LEAF is putting together The Great Otsego Holiday Light Trail, a map that will coordinate all of the best holiday lights across the county, from Richfield Springs to Sidney.
“Every year, people post all these incredible light displays on Facebook,” she said. “And I thought, all this needs is for someone to coordinate where all of them are so people can drive around and see the displays for themselves.”
The map, which can soon be accessed from www.AllOTSEGO.com, can download to your cell phone and sync with a map, so you will be able to drive from one to the next without getting lost.
“You can do it in sections,” said Dostal. “Or if you want to do a holiday Lights-a-Palooza and get them all in one night, it’ll be easy to navigate on your cell phone.”
The map will debut on Thanksgiving Day, but to make the trail really glow, they need your help. “When you see a fantastic lights display – I’m talking one with thousands of lights and inflatables and everything – take a picture of it, write down the address and put it on our Facebook page,” she said. “We’ll add it to the map!”
The first on the map is Kevin and Christy Comstock’s home at 42 Maple St., Oneonta, which over the last decade has become a wonderland of colorful inflated characters.
“When my son Zachary was little, he saw an Eeyore inflatable in Kmart that he really liked,” said Kevin. “Since then, we’ve slowly built up the collection.”
The yard now has eight inflatable characters, including a giant BB-8 in the “Star Wars” section, which also features Yoda – dressed as Santa – and Darth Vader.
He and Christy stock up on discounted inflatables at the end of every season. “New this year are Mickey and Pluto,” he said. “We put them out as soon as we take down our Halloween inflatables, but we got started late this year because of the weather. It’s not fun to put them out when it’s zero degrees.”
But weather, he said, is why they leave them on 24 hours a day. “If we turn them off and they get snow on them, it’s hard to inflate them and you risk the motor burning out,” he said. “Plus it really embarrasses the heck out of Zachary, so we keep doing it. He’s 14 now, so he comes home from school and they’re all out there.”
“When people put all this work into these displays, they want people to come by and see them,” said Dostal.
And don’t be shy about getting out of the car to snap a selfie.
“Kids always want to get their picture taken with them,” said Kevin. “It’s fun.”