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Popular Wirth light display traveled from Illinois

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

(Photo)
The annual Angotti home Christmas light display near Wirth is one of the area's largest. Each year, hundreds of vehicles make their way through the drive, a wonderland of sights of the season. [Order this photo]
Harold Angotti and his late wife, Nola, started their large holiday lights display in Illinois. When the couple moved to Wirth, Ark. in 1994, they brought their Christmas lights tradition with them. For nearly 20 years, the Angotti home has attracted countless viewers out to their home in the country.

"This was my wife's thing. She really liked to do all the Christmas decorations. For years, we've always put out lights. When we moved out here, we had a lot more space and kept adding onto our lights every year," Angotti said. Even though his wife has passed away, Angotti has continued the tradition of putting out the lights and animated displays. In the past, it has been a family effort for Angotti, but did it himself this year.

The couple started out with a small display, which gradually became a large one. At one time, the Angotti's had as many as 400,000 lights on display. "When we lived in Illinois, we lived on a highway and you could see our lights from a different highway. The cars would have to turn off the highway to come up to our house. My neighbor used to count the cars and said he counted as many as 200 cars an hour," Angotti said.

The couple was inspired by their trips to Six Flags in St. Louis. "We would get ideas and make some displays based on what we saw up there. We would go to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and buy frames and wire them for our displays. We used to make a lot of the scenes ourselves," Angotti said. His favorite light scenes are his helicopter and, of course, the manger scene. The helicopter is 12 feet tall and 20 feet wide and was built by Angotti himself.

Angotti's lights and displays are neatly arranged on the paved lane that leads to his home. He encourages people to drive down the lane and take time to really enjoy the lights. "I do have a donation box to help with expenses, but they don't have to contribute," Agnotti said.

Agnotti plans to keep his lights up for two or three days after Christmas. The lights come on around dusk, at approximately 5:00 p.m. and he turns them off at 9:00 p.m.



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