Every neighborhood has that one house around the holidays where the family truly goes above and beyond in terms of decorating. For a few lucky State College neighbors, that family is the Stoner family on Harvest Run Road, where they’ve set up the ultimate Penn State holiday light show.
The video of the family’s elaborate light show, which features “Zombie Nation” and the “Let’s Go PSU” chant by the Blue Band, has accumulated more than a million views on Facebook. “Let’s. Go. P-S-U” and “We Are Penn State” flash on the house’s windows in tune with the music to create an impressive show that has attracted attention from neighbors, friends, family, and even strangers.
Although you might think the neighbors would get tired of the tunes, Penn State alumnus Eric Stoner says his local community is a big part of why his house can boast such an impressive light show.
“We work on our display throughout the year,” Stoner said. “Lots of neighbors help. We are the type of community where the kids will be outside riding their bikes while the neighbors are sipping on beer and wine and we get some of the neighbors to help build some displays while the weather is nice out. The neighbors help out and encourage the show.”
However, the demand for such an impressive show on such a small street has caused a few problems for the neighbors, especially because Stoner has much longer versions of the lights how set up for spectators compared to the few minutes-long Facebook video.
“It’s been a bit of a challenge to keep driveways from getting blocked this year since our street is tight,” Stoner added. “We encourage everyone to just wait it out as we run a shorter version of our show (about 10 minutes) during peak times and a longer version (20 minutes) when the crowds are smaller.”
Stoner said that the decorating process begins in early October, but it is all kept indoors until mid-November because “you can’t mow the grass around wires.” The technology for the show is impressive and the screens on the house are on the outside of the windows.
In addition to setting up the lights, Stoner created his own mix for the show’s soundtrack, as well. The mix wasn’t specifically made for the Christmas lights; his company, Nittany Entertainment, offers DJ and Photo Booth services for weddings and big parties.
“The song used is a custom mix I made for our DJ Company, Nittany Entertainment,” Stoner said. “It has an older version of [Let’s Go PSU] with the Zombie Nation beat under throughout. It ends with some Seven Nation Army. The song is great for tailgating and pregames and you can find it on SoundCloud.”
As for the voices yelling “We Are Penn State” and “Let’s. Go. P-S-U” throughout the song, he asked members of the Penn State Blue Band to record themselves for the song and uses their samples in it.
While the sheer amount of time and effort put into the light show is impressive on its own, it’s all for a good cause. The spectacle’s Facebook page, which has nearly 5,000 likes, offers a link to donate to the Jared Box Project, a now-national charity originally started in State College.
“It was started in 2001 for a local boy named Jared who was diagnosed with terminal cancer,” Stoner said. “The charity makes small, shoebox-sized boxes and fills them with stickers, coloring books, and stuffed animals, among other things. If a child goes to the ER at Mount Nittany [Medical Center], they are given a box to make the experience more bearable.”
Stoner said his own daughter received a box from the Jared Box Project when she was diagnosed with appendicitis just four days before Christmas in 2013. The family decided to start doing the light show and to team up with the Jared Box Project the following year. The Stoners have also teamed up with Four Diamonds in years past to help raise money for THON.
“We like to do a charity as another way [to get] people in the holiday spirit,” Eric Stoner said. “Christmas and children go together and we feel it’s a great relationship to team up with the Jared Box.”
This year the Stoners reached their $2000 donation goal for the Jared Box Project on Christmas Eve. To check out the family’s display for yourself, the house is located at 107 Harvest Run Road in State College.