HANOVER TWP., Pa. — Many people are turning on their Christmas lights Friday for the first time, but not with the same fanfare as a Northampton County home.
“Sparky’s Christmas House” has been drawing large crowds for over half a century, and this year it’s lit up in honor of the man behind it.
For 50+ years, Gene, better known as “Sparky”, and his wife Joyce Ashner have been wowing crowds with their Hanover Township Christmas display. But this year, when the lights came on, Sparky was gone.
He died in June. Joyce, his wife of over 68 years, wasn’t going to let the tradition end, at least not this year.
“He was a guy, he was,” Joyce said.
Fortunately, their two sons and grandsons had already been helping out for years, especially when Sparky grew up and wasn’t supposed to do certain chores. So they have completely taken over this year. Good kind of.
“I’m responsible,” Joyce said.
They say it takes about eight weeks to install everything, with over 30,000 lights. And Joyce makes sure they’re all in the right place while adding more and more each year.
And people were sad to hear that this might be the last year, because this year’s lights are a tribute to Sparky.
“I think he looks down and says well done, yeah,” Joyce said.