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Frank Rehm, of Antioch, works in his garage on a chair that will used this year for pictures with Santa as part of his Christmas wonderland in Antioch, Calif., on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. His annual holiday display brings thousands of spectators, and has a food drop-off in front of the house for donationans to the the Antioch Food Bank. (Dan Rosenstrauch/Bay Area News Group)

Outdoor holiday lighting has come a long way since the first General Electric Co. eight-socket lights filled the McAdenville, N.C., Men's Club outdoor Christmas light display of just a few trees in 1956. Today neighbors gather to see the twinkling of lights, lighted inflatable decorations, wood and metal cutouts and choreographed lights and music shows.

Some travel for miles to tour the best displays, but here in East County there are lots of bright light displays that are sure to excite the young and young at heart.

With the current new technological designs in lights and computers, one East County resident, Nick Gifford, of 23 Matisse Court in Oakley, has put together a light show that may not look like much, but add the music to the act and the show comes to life. Much like the fountain and light display at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, the light display follows the music rhythm.

Like several other shows in the area, Gifford also adds to the holiday spirit by offering bins where people are welcome to drop off Toys For Tots and food for those in need this season. Already the family has received quite a few toys and food since last week's light show opening night. The music and lights will run regularly on Sunday through Thursday 5:30 to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/gifforddigitalchristmas.

Many local neighborhoods are working together to showcase their neighborhoods in the best light. Since 2001 Frank Rehm and his neighbor, Richard Confetti, have been inviting residents to check out their Camby Road light show. Confetti goes all out by providing a radio station that people can tune into to hear holiday sounds as they pass the show.


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The neighbors each have their own way of putting together their light show decorations. "I'm more old-fashioned about my lights," Rehm said. "Rich has the new-school LED lights. We complement each other."

Each year Rehm adds something new to his display. For the past couple of months he's been working on a Santa's Village in his garage, which includes a large finely decorated chair for Santa. A photographer by profession, Rehm will be taking pictures with Santa in his new chair. The photos can either be sent digitally or he can print photos for guest to take home. Donations are accepted for the photos.

Rehm is also collecting toys and dry and canned food. All of the items collected are being sent to St. Ignatius Church in Antioch for distribution.

The display will be completely up and running on Saturday evening. The family runs the lights from dusk to 9 p.m.; however, Rehm said that they keep the lights on until people stop coming by. In the past they have had more than 200 visitors a night.

Other neighborhoods to consider checking out include Honeysuckle Street, Olive Court and Olive Street in Brentwood. "We have over 20 homes that are beautifully lit and we string lights from house to house," Melissa Bliss said. "It's like a winter wonderland."

There are also several individual homes in East County homes that neighbors enjoy. Known as the "Disney House" around Antioch, 3732 Colonial Court features more than 25,000 lights and several light-up Disney characters. Other streets to check out include Antioch's Oneida Way, Shannondale Drive, Bluerock Drive and Plumwood Way. In Oakley there are also several notable streets, including Cherry Court, Red Barn Court and Fetzer Lane.

LIGHTS?
If you have a beautiful outdoor holiday display, send us a photo at bnews@bayareanewsgroup.com. Please indicate where it is located, and we'll include it on our Antioch/Brentwood/Oakley and Pittsburg Facebook pages.