The 2016 Christmas season is almost here!
The Guernsey County courthouse comes alive nightly with tens of thousands of colorful lights computer synchronized to both traditional and contemporary holiday music beginning November 1st through the end of the year. This magnificent historical 1881 building jumps into the 21st Century as it is bathed in more than 55,000 lights, three- twenty foot Christmas trees and 60 animated displays. Each hour features a wide variety of music including children’s, contemporary and traditional Christmas favorites.
New for 2016, our 10th Season!
Elwood the Elf has a couple of magical surprises up his sleeve this season for the shoe you will not want to miss! PLUS, a SPECIAL, MAGICAL NIGHT just for kids is being planned. Watch this page for updates soon!
See this FREE show each evening from 5:30pm until 9pm daily plus extended there are extended show hours on SELECTED DATES. The show runs November 1st, 2016 through January 1st, 2017. PLEASE NOTE: November 1st through 5th, the show will not start until 6:30pm due to Daylight Savings Time. It’s just not dark yet!
2016 SPECIAL EXTENDED SHOW DATES: (5:30pm until 11pm) Thanksgiving Day, 11/25, 11/26 (following the Christmas Parade), 12/2, 12/3, 12/9, 12/10, 12/16, 12/17, 12/23, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, 12/26, New Years Eve and New Years day (Final show of season).
Be a part of the show!
You can be a part of this Christmas tradition by making a contribution. Just click on the donation button below and contribute any amount you would like. 100% of your donation goes directly to the maintaining and growing the show.You can also visit the Dickens Welcome Center at 745 Steubenville Avenue behind the courthouse to purchase Light Show and Dickens holiday souvenirs that support these projects. Thank YOU! And MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Meet Elwood the Elf!
The show is hosted by Elwood the Christmas Elf! Visit him on Facebook to leave him messages and questions, upload your lightshow pictures and videos, watch videos of and about the show and more! Visit Facebook/ElfElwood!
When the switch is thrown on this year’s Guernsey County Courthouse holiday lights and music show, onlookers again will witness seasonal illumination amplified to a new scale never before seen in the local area.
The historic centerpiece of Downtown Cambridge comes alive with literally tens of thousands of colorful lights, synchronized to both traditional and contemporary holiday musical favorites.
The Courthouse lends its magnificent 1881 design to a intricately-choreographed 21st Century eye fest consisting of more than 2,000 control circuits for 55,000 lights, 15,000 of which will outline the structure’s unique architectural details. Sixty animated displays and three 23 Foot Mega-Christmas Trees with 2,600 plus lights and a pine Christmas tree with a 3-D star complete the holiday spectacle.
The Guernsey County Commissioners, the City of Cambridge, the Cambridge/Guernsey County Visitors and Convention Bureau, the Dickens Victorian Village and AVC Communications have expressed their pride in this extraordinary enhancement of what has become a local tradition.
More Music Every Hour for this Christmas Season!
AVC designed the display, creating hourly shows that will play throughout the holiday season. Each presentation makes use of more than 2000 control circuits, each computer controlled in one-fourth-of-a-second increments and painstakingly synchronized to a holiday soundtrack. The show always features contemporary and traditional music, including kids favorites and spectacular display’s on the front of the courthouse, the lawn and on US Bank across the street.
Each hour features a wide variety of music. The show features children’s Christmas favorites, one song actually sung by Cambridge area grade school! A show featuring contemporary Christmas favorites, a traditional/contemporary Christmas music show featuring the well known local saxophonist Gordon Hough is followed by the ever popular modern Christmas music show. This show is considered the crowd favorite. Each hour has 57 minutes of music & lights!
Nearly a thousand man hours were needed to originally design the first display; install the lights and electrical systems; and coordinate the lights to the music in 2007.
Cambridge and Guernsey County invite you to come and enjoy the Dickens Victorian Village and the charm of this 19th century landmark, complimented by this dramatic display of state-of-the-art lighting technology.
The Guernsey County Courthouse Holiday Light Show is a gift to the community from local resident, Grant Hafley, and is a joint effort of AVC Communications, the Guernsey County Commissioners, the Cambridge/Guernsey County Visitors and Convention Bureau, the Cambridge Main Street Program and the Dickens Victorian Village.
For more information, video clips of the show or interview availabilities please contact:
Cambridge/Guernsey County Visitors & Convention Bureau
627 Wheeling Avenue, Suite 200
Cambridge, OH 43725
Phone 740-432-2022 or 1-800-933-5480
Selection from the 2014 Show – “Merry Christmas!”
The Ohio Channel Courthouse feature including the Light’s & Music Show
AVC – The Making The Courthouse Holiday Light Show Video by Ryan Pavlov
For three months in 2011, Ryan Pavlov documented AVC Communications, of Cambridge, Ohio, as they prepared and installed the Guernsey County Holiday Light Show. Please take a moment to view the film and see all the time and effort put into the only government building with a music and light show in the United States.
The Ohio Channel featured the Courthouse light show in 2013 in this special report
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about the show
Q: How long does it take to program the show?
A: It takes approximately 18 to 22 hours on average to program every 2 minutes of music! The programmer gives “instructions” to the lights every 1/5th of a second. To tightly sync the lights and music, the programmer actually listens to the music at a ¼ of its actual speed… so very slow… one light fixture or sets of lights at a time.
Q: How much music is in the show?
A: in 2014 we have 64 minutes of Christmas music before the songs begin repeating!
Q: How many lights?
A: Frankly, we have lost count! But, we do know for sure that there are more than 55,000 individual lights used in the show of various types. 15,000 are use just to outline the courthouse in white alone!
Q: How many feet of cable is used?
A: We use more than 3 miles of wiring of different types, both power and control cables. What you may not realize is the some of the display, the wreaths hanging on the US Bank building for example, are controlled using WIRELESS controllers! We transmit the instructions to the lights “over the air”.
Q: How does this thing work?
A: Very well most of the time! It’s all run by a computer. We tell the computer what instructions to give the lights for each song, what songs to play in which order, what time to start and stop. It does all the rest!
Q: How many control circuits does it take to control the lights?
A: It take over 4500 separate control circuits. Some light fixtures take more than one each. For example, some floods have three control channels. Our newest floodlights have 18 channels each! Yes, every channel has to be told what to do every second the show is on… even if it’s just told to be “off”.
Q: How long does it take to set it up?
A: This is a tough one to answer. We start setting it up in September and work on it through October for the first show November 1st or 2nd usually each year. Generally it takes 5 people working on it, along with our regular job duties, so it’s hard to put an hourly number on it. Lights are put up during the day and tested after dark.
Q: What all is included in the display?
A: The display includes 42 LED Flood lights, three- twenty foot plus animated Christmas trees, one with a 4 foot tall star on it. The courthouse windows feature 36 custom made “scenes” and with all of the other characters and scenes on both the courthouse and the lawn adds up to 60 animated displays! There are also more than 38 large snowflakes, 600 feet of rope light and this year we’ve added to robotic flood lights.
Q: How much Electric does it take to run it?
A: Believe it or not, the Christmas light show SAVES money verses the lights that used to outline the courthouse a decade ago. The old lights were incandescent, large, static white lights that took a lot of electricity. The light show is mostly LED lights that use far less electricity thus save the county money on their electric bill!
Q: How do you make all of the different colors?
A: Every color is made from 3 basic colors… Red, green and blue. We mix those three colors electronically to create the color we want. We change the brightness of the colors and the intensity of the color to make all of the different variations. It’s a lot like mixing paint colors, with lights!
Q: Who started the light show?
A: The Courthouse Christmas lights and music show was the vision of Grant Hafley, former owner of AVC Communications, which operates 6 local radio stations. It was his idea to create the show to compliment the Dickens Victorian Village by giving visitors something to enjoy downtown in the evening. He did the original engineering and design for the show and paid for the original display himself as a gift to the community which had supported his business over more than 30 years. Today, AVC Communications continues to be the driving force behind the show, maintaining and growing is each year with the help of donations from visitors and the community.