WELLS, Maine (Beth McEvoy) For Stanley Norton, giving back to his community is simply a way of life, one he hopes his sons will learn. And he is choosing to teach them, among other ways, by devoting his home to spectacular musical light shows.
What started as a friendly competition between brothers has grown into a decade of hard work, a serious reputation and national attention of some seriously amazing light shows.
Norton says he and his brother decided to compete for whoever could create the craziest Christmas light show. That was ten years ago. The loser had to hang a portrait of the winner in their home with the words ‘I wish I was my brother’ underneath. Norton took the challenge seriously. He says his house resembled that of the famous ‘Christmas Vacation’ home.
“Every clapboard had a row of lights,” says Norton. Needless to say, he won.
Two years later Norton, along with his wife Melissa and his boys, Reed and Ryan started a Halloween show, which he says is much smaller than its Christmas successor.
It takes hours to transform their yard and home into the spooky Halloween display with more than 10,000 lights, all perfectly synced to music. Norton even enlists the help of the boys Wells Soccer team, whom he used to coach, for several weekends to make the show come to life.
Viewers drive from all over New England, and beyond, to park outside Norton’s home, tune their radio to 88.9, according to the lit up sign, and enjoy the show. And it changes every year with new music and new displays. For many people it has become a part of their Halloween traditions.
Norton says in the beginning, they were worried about how their neighbors would respond. “I can’t believe the outpour of support from our community and neighbors. God bless (my neighbors) for putting up with me and this craziness.”
All the Norton’s ask is that viewers bring a canned good to benefit the local food pantry. Last year alone they donated close to 10,000 lbs of food.
Norton says he could not do the shows without the support of his family. He says the time commitment is comparable to having a second job starting in October thru December.
“I live my life with the expectation that you need to give back,” Norton says.
He hopes his two sons are learning this as well. “Volunteering is very important and that is what I am hoping they walk away with that you need to give back as much as you take.”
To visit the Norton Light’s anyone is welcome to head to their home on 213 Canterbury Manor in Wells Maine. The show runs the last two weeks in October every night from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., and til 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. On Halloween they blast the music from their speakers and the show runs until 10:00.
(Remember to respect the privacy of the Norton's and do not knock on their door.)
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