PLEASANTON (KPIX 5) — Widmer World, one of the largest holiday displays in all of Northern California that’s continuously growing, lights up the end of a cul de sac in Pleasanton every year.
The Christmas light extravaganza is named after Bob Widmer, a retired software engineer. Widmer and his family have been putting up elaborate decorations in their front yard since 1981. Around the year 2000, they began working on the backyard.
Each year, the light display gets more intricate–this year, they’re up to at least 400,000 lights and 1,000 extension cords. The line to get into Widmer World goes all the way down the block and about 15,000 visitors stop by every year.
“Gentleman last night, 27 years he had been coming through here. And he had his grandkids, his daughter and basically the third generation of family, so we have three or four generations of people that come through here,” Widmer said.
“They put so much into it and it’s always different. Every year there’s something new. So this year, there’s snow. They didn’t have snow last year,” said visitor Chaela McCabe.
The Widmers do accept donations to help offset the electrical bill. They wouldn’t disclose how much that costs them, but Widmer hinted that it’s “in the thousands.”
“We tell them that if they want to pay it,” he joked.
Children’s eyes often glow as they enjoy the elaborate lights with their families. Even teens, often glued to their phones, were absorbed in Widmer World.
“Our 15-year-old, he was dragging his feet and not wanting to come. But when we got here, they have a real fun scavenger hunt,” said Gary Dunn of Pleasanton.
“He was on his phone when he started, and by the end he was skipping and singing Christmas carols,” said wife Jenn.
Widmer World takes months to set up, with the family starting as early as August. But they say watching the community have some holiday joy is well worth all the hard work.
“Everybody that comes through takes home a little bit of Christmas spirit with them. They all love it,” said Susan Widmer.