[Times photo: Skip O'Rourke]
Christmas Lane, which is at 2091 Wooten Road in Dover, is put on by Lane Wetherington along with his parents, Ron and Faye Wetherington, and a whole bunch of volunteers.
What started 25 years ago as a simple front-yard display has turned into a massive project that Lane Wetherington starts assembling Nov. 1 each year. It takes Wetherington and company a month to put up the lights, dozens of displays and a small train that children can ride at 2091 Wooten Road in Dover. Wetherington has no idea how many lights he has but says, with a smile, "it's thousands."
December 1 through 29, people come from miles around to marvel at the winter wonderland. Wetherington estimates that between 18,000 to 20,000 people tour the annual display on 11/2 acres on his dad's yard.
"Lane has loved Christmas ever since he was little, even asking for Christmas lights for his birthday each year so that he could have more and more lights and Christmas things," says his father, Ron Wetherington.
Lane loves giving to the community.
"It is all about the people. I love doing this for them. I do it especially for the kids in our community. There are a lot of children that don't have a very good Christmas, and when they come here, the glow on their faces, well, it is very rewarding." he says.
The farm, which is just east of Dover Road, takes on the name of Christmas Lane, using Wetherington's favorite time of the year and his first name. Christmas Lane is open from sunset to 10 p.m. weekdays and until 11 p.m. weekends. However, Wetherington is quick to point out "that if people are here at closing time, the lights will stay on."
It takes 125 volunteers to help out over the two months it takes to set up and run Christmas Lane. Volunteers work in crews; it takes 10 to 15 people to manage the displays, help people and serve hot chocolate, popcorn, hot dogs and other foods.
Wetherington adds about $5,000 to $8,000 worth of new displays and lights each year. Lane says the December electric bill "is about $3,000."