Cafe Society

An illuminating idea: A light show that benefits Food Bank of the Rockies

The holiday spirit is about giving -- well, that and who has the best lights display.

Tom O'Connor and Ed Soulsby, two Arvada men, have put both these concepts in action with their display of about 35,000 computer-controlled lights that sync to Christmas music aired on 106.3 FM. The light show is open to all -- and appreciative viewers are encouraged to leave donations for Bank of the Rockies.

The inspiration behind the blinding display was a Super Bowl commercial with a lights show. "We saw it static and we decided to do it animated," explains Soulsby. The idea to make the display a benefit came a couple of years later. "Three years ago we got an anonymous donation that said, 'Use this for your Xcel bill,'" O'Connor remembers.

Instead, they decided to forward the donation to a charity and chose Food Bank of the Rockies. "We wanted to keep it local," says Soulsby, "and they donate to all the other food banks in the area."

But the show attracts people from far and wide. "There are a lot of repeats and they bring people. We've even had people here from Japan," notes Soulsby.

Last year the do-gooders raised raised $3,300. "This year we already have about $3,600," says O'Connor.

And it's not to late to see the lights for yourself -- and also make a donation. The light show will continue from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. through January 1 at 12177 West 58th Place in Arvada.