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Holiday light show tradition in Whitehall continues

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s time for the Polenchar holiday light display.

Carol and Joe Polenchar, of Whitehall, are entering their 14th year of setting up a computer-animated holiday light show at their residence, 36 Franklin St.

The display includes moving lights that correspond with music that plays over the radio. People are encouraged to tune their radios to 92.3 FM to enjoy the festive music and lights. According to the Polenchars, they have 37 songs on the playlist. There are 208 channels with 38,000 lights.

The Polenchars change something about the show each year to keep the display fresh.

“Our 16 mini trees used to be green and purple. Now, they are red and white,” they said.

There are also other lighting and color changes and the addition of a large spiral tree.

The couple said they spent their summer working on the Christmas lights.

This is their ninth year using the holiday display to collect donations for Second Harvest Food Bank.

“The donations are very much needed as Second Harvest is feeding more folks than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the couple stated.

There is a lighted sign with a wish list of items and a sturdy, waterproof container to safely hold any donated items. They also accept monetary donations or checks made out to Second Harvest Food Bank.

A special brief commentary featuring Second Harvest plays every sixth song on the playlist.

“We remain committed to helping fight hunger ‘one can at a time’ using our light show as the vehicle,” the couple said.

They added any nonperishable donations go to the Whitehall Food Pantry at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Mechanicsville Road.

They noted the importance of food banks right now with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They reported seeing mileslong lines of people waiting for food all over the country.

“It’s almost ironic now that tuning your car radio to 92.3 FM to ‘listen to the lights’ in the comfort of your own vehicle is one of the safest ways to enjoy some Christmas cheer this season,” the Polenchars said. “This is a great opportunity to share the joys of Christmas with your family safely and securely with no worries and to experience some peace in these trying times.”

The Polenchars reported they, unfortunately, will not be outside handing out candy canes and interacting with people as they have in the past.

“Santa is staying safe within his bubble of elves, so he will not be making an appearance,” they added.

The festive holiday shows started Thanksgiving and continue through Jan. 1, 2022. They run 6-9:30 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays and 6-10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

The home is “off the beaten path,” so if you want to enjoy the display, turn onto Grape Street from MacArthur Road by City View Diner and Pep Boys. Follow Grape Street past the mall entrances and continue until the road comes to a T. Turn left onto Front Street. The next stop sign is the intersection of Front and Franklin streets. The house is on the corner with the entrance facing Front Street.

Be sure to take a break from the stresses of life to get lost in a little holiday cheer, and bring a donation, if you are able, to help someone else have a happy holiday season as well.