The Ludy‘s Christmas Lights Spectacular Display is a multitude of lights sequenced to music. Jerry, Edith, and their children have shared their excitement of lights with the community of Columbus, GA, and surrounding areas for years.
Edith, one of four children, was the sibling who took charge of decorations in her family. Edith’s passion for bringing a smile to a child increased her desire to create more displays on the inside of the home. Upon entering the Ludy home, you are greeted with the most spectacular Nativity scene, a beautiful hand-crafted Advent Calendar, and hand-sewn Christmas Stockings for each member of the family.
When Jerry was a young boy of 12, he built his first Christmas project; a Santa out of paper grocery bags. Jerry painted a face and placed C-9 lights around a frame of wood. This small project increased each year until Jerry found himself as an adult decorating the outside of his own home. Jerry took delight in the admiring visitors driving by, providing inspiration to build and share something new each year that followed.
As Jerry introduces a new creation, an increase in the number of lights is always the result, with an average increase of 10,000 new bulbs each year. In 2006, the light count was over 60,000 and that seemed like a lot back then! Fast forward to 2021, shining bright at over 500,000 lights with over 10 MILES... YES, MILES of light strands.
Many ask about Ludy's power bill, which used to reach four digits each November & December. However, when Jerry went "Green" several years ago, sequencing his lights to music, swapping out some of the lights for LEDs, and having Georgia Power install another power box, he was able to get the power bill under control, now averaging only $100 additional dollars each month during the Christmas season.
The lights are now sequenced to music, controlled by a computerized program Jerry commands. Each song takes 3 to 5 weeks to program as each individual strand of lights must be accounted for and included in the program. The music is transmitted through an FM transmitter that can be received while driving within the site of the home. All visitors entering the Cottonwood Subdivision can tune their radio station to FM 90.1 and listen to Ludy's Christmas Lights Spectacular. As you top the hill you witness the magic of lights dancing in sync with holiday music coming from your car speakers.
Each January Jerry starts the brainstorming process all over with simple drawings on a dry-erase board. From there, he begins on a new project to introduce Thanksgiving evening later that year. He works tirelessly inside his Santa's Workshop, keeping the new creation top secret until the Grand Lighting night. Some of Jerry's Christmas projects have included:
In 2006, Jerry constructed a 35’ Santa, Sleigh, and Reindeer that stretched across the roof with Santa tossing gifts into the Ludy's chimney. It's been quite the centerpiece of the display ever since.
In 2007, Jerry incorporated the neighbor's home; having his rooftop Santa toss gifts over and behind his head, onto a trampoline of lights that then bounces into the neighbor's chimney, all while standing on the Ludy's roof! Now that takes some skill!... but what else would you expect from Santa?
In 2008, Jerry constructed three seven-foot-tall Snowmen to make the "Snowman Snowball Fight". One snowman in Ludy's yard, one next door, and one across the street. The Three Snowmen throw snowballs at each other between the three different homes! Wow! Visitors enjoy the opportunity to drive by the Ludy's home, watching in amazement as snowballs are thrown over their cars! (With the property across the street from the Ludy's home currently vacant and without power, this project has been temporarily downsized to a two-man Snowman Snowball fight, with the snowmen fighting in between the Ludy's home and the next-door neighbor's).
In 2009, Jerry constructed and added Santa's Lighting Engineer Elf who now kicks off the program each night by plugging in the two extension cords that light up the entire house (picture Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation). It's definitely an intro worth sitting and waiting to see at 6 pm each evening.
In 2010 Jerry surprised us all with his hand-created and beautifully designed Big Blue LED Snowflakes adorning the roof. They are so gorgeous! Of course, these spectacular creations just weren't enough! As visitors parked on the far right of the house, they could listen for the croaking of "Gus the Christmas Frog". Gus appears out of a gift Santa tosses on the roof. He then jumps from Ludy's home to the neighbor's roof and finally into a hand-created lit birdbath! You won't want to miss him and of course, little boys & girls love Gus!
In 2011 Jerry created the most beautiful 17-foot Mega Christmas Tree made completely out of 7,000 Christmas Lights topped with a spectacular 4-foot Bethlehem Star. The front lawn was then outlined and adorned with new Leaping Lit Arches. The children really enjoyed watching the arches dance in sync with the music.
In 2012 Jerry added "Striker" our resident elf who tests his strength on the High Striker. The Bell Tower is 30 feet high. Striker grabs the mallet and gives it a go. Sometimes he's successful and sometimes he falls down from the sheer weight of the mallet. Kids love Striker!
In 2013 Jerry added a second mega tree standing 30 feet high along with a 3600 LED Light Message Board to spread the reason for the season. Kids can watch the board for clues and lyrics to sing along to the fun! A fun Helicopter flown by Santa was added as a new edition too. Lastly, Gus has gotten himself into trouble again. Gus the Frog now also lands into a Circus Canon... before he can jump out, the fuse is lit and he shoots across the street, landing into a birdbath in the neighbor's yard.
In 2014 Jerry got an extra dose of Christmas Spirit with the addition of SIX new projects. Let's get started! 1) Jerry created a 10' snowman named Blizzard who sat across the street in the neighbor's yard. 2) The kid's favorite... OLAF from the movie Frozen. Jerry brought Olaf to life through the joy of lights and added the song "Let it Go" to the music lineup to honor the movie. 3) An 8' Santa Sleigh appeared in the next-door neighbor's yard. 4) 22' Driveway Arches that span the width of the driveway and stand 11' tall. 5) HOLY HOLLY... EIGHT ADDITIONAL 6' mega trees! and finally.... #6) To honor Jerry's neighbor, a retired Airborne Officer, Jerry constructed a C-130 Plane with 3 parachutes. You'll have to visit multiple times just to see all the goodies! Don't miss this year's Ludy's Christmas Light Spectacular to see what Jerry has in store this year!
Ski-lift project info here.
In December 2019, Jerry decided he would take the Holiday Season of 2020 off. Little did he know that Covid was around the corner. Many in the community thought Jerry took 2020 off due to the Covid pandemic, but in actuality, Jerry had already decided to take a year off.
In January 2020, Jerry began working on his largest project to date... a 30-foot high, 3.5' wide, eight-seater Ferris Wheel made almost entirely from recycled scrap metal. The Ferris Wheel is covered with over 4,000 LED lights. Jerry got the inspiration for the Ferris Wheel from his Ski-Lift project and his fond memories of going to the county fair. The Ferris Wheel carries large plush characters. Jerry also created a Descending Light Dripping Tree with both projects unveiled in 2021.
A lot of preparation and work goes into this display in order to have all the lights working and in synchronization with the music. Jerry could not create this light wonderland each year if it wasn't for the help of his son, Keith. Since Keith was old enough to walk, he has played a large role in the preparation of the lights. It takes many months to prepare for this spectacular day. Keith and Jerry start placing lights on the roof during the second week of August, working all the way leading up to Thanksgiving.
Jerry and Edith's oldest daughter, Julie Hedges, owner of JE Hedges Photography and JE Hedges Photo Booths in Columbus, created and maintains the Ludy Christmas website. During the Christmas Season, dates will be posted regarding special evenings that will consist of visits with Santa. Santa will be providing candy canes for the children as he listens to all of their wishes. It is a great time to fellowship with neighbors and friends. Be sure to bring a camera to take that priceless photo of your loved one sitting with Santa. For Holiday Portraits, visit http://www.JEHedges.com.
Jerry and Edith both love Christmas because of celebrating that special day when Jesus Christ was born. Jesus has blessed both of them in so many ways; they want to share the joy of those blessings by bringing a smile to anyone that is able to see their display. Since Jesus is the Light of the World, then they want their lights to shine in celebration of his birth.
Visit us at 5784 Ironstone Drive, Columbus, Georgia, 31907 in the Cottonwood Plantation neighborhood. Tons of fun and excitement! So be sure to bring the family by and discover what Christmas magic Santa has planned for this year! The Ludy‘s Christmas Light Spectacular opens Thanksgiving Evening and runs thru New Year's Eve.
We look forward to seeing you!
Mr. & Mrs. Claus - Jerry & Edith Ludy
Senior Elves - Julie, Cary, Keith, Kristi, Gracie, & Matt
Junior Elves - Zachary, London, Savannah, Madison, & Faith