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South Whidbey lights up the season

"Have you seen the light?Have you noticed a particularly good light display in your neighborhood or while driving home from work? Clue others in by calling The Record at 221-5300. We will publish the addresses of these displays so the rest of the community can enjoy the lights.Seen across Stan Gabelein's Freeland pasture from Mutiny Bay Road, the lights on Cameron Road look like a beacon.Matt Johnson/staff photosWhen winter settles over South Whidbey, the clouds roll in, the rain drips, and darkness falls as early as 4 p.m., not lifting until after 7 a.m. the next day. Fortunately, there is a bright spot. Hundreds of bright spots, in fact.Every year around this time, it seems that nearly everyone who can lay their hands on a string of holiday lights has nailed them to a house, barn or garage and is using them to fight the gloom of winter. With everything from little twinklers to life-size, glowing reindeer, people from Clinton to Greenbank are spending their holidays racking up huge amounts of kilowatt hours on their electric meters as they create a glowing tribute to the season.Freeland's Claire Bauer, a true holiday light zealot, has spent two years building his light display. His Mutiny Sands home is awash in light and looks as if it could be invaded at any moment by glowing snowmen, Santas, and nutcracker soldiers. In fact, it seems that some of the characters have already made it in, because the front windows of his home are populated by motorized marionnettes of Santa, Mrs. Claus, and other Christmastide characters.I've just been kind of building up to it, Bauer said of his bright display.Perhaps the most visited and best known holiday lights extravaganza on South Whidbey is Jerry and Lois Beck's Christmas Light Show, at 6504 Robin Lane in Clinton. The 17,000-light barrage of color and holiday scenes is so big that for the past four years the Becks have built the display for drive-thru traffic. There are snowmen, Peanuts characters, a Nativity scene, and more rope lights than can be found in five Nordstrom's department stores. Complete with its own local radio frequency that plays Christmas music, the show opened Nov. 22 and will delight visitors through Dec. 30. The display is open 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each night.The Becks' show is not the only game in town. True holiday light fans should take the time to cruise through every little neighborhood or side street they can find if they want to find more of South Whidbey's well-lit treasures. A drive along Saratoga Road, East Harbor Road and Goss Lake Road yields several spectacular displays, including Mike and Kathy Gurnee's colorful farm house at 4791 E. Harbor Road. Just be careful to avoid hitting all the other cars that have stopped to admire the scene.Other places to find good displays include Scatchet Head, Langley, Beachwood, Useless Bay and downtown Freeland. "

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