Thousands of Christmas lights will burn again at Marvin H. and Mattie Hunter’s home at 340 Alexander Street in Summerville.
On Thanksgiving Day, the Hunters will bring back their Christmas lights and decorations. Many locals growing up in the 1990s may remember the twinkling roadside tradition. It became an annual trek down Alexander and Roberts Streets to catch a glimpse of the multicolor glow. For many locals, it was a beacon that Christmas was approaching.
“They are really working hard to make it happen,” the Hunters’ daughter, Fran Hamilton said.
The tradition dates back to 1986, Fran said. It started when Fran taped up Christmas lights insider her bedroom window.
Each year the lights slowly started spreading across the Hunters’ 1.5-acre lot. The biggest growth spurt happened in 1993 when the yard had 69,500 lights, up 50,000 from the previous year. It continued to climb into the six-digit range until tragedy struck.
The Hunters’ 19-year-old grandson, Kevin, died in November 2006 from injuries received in an automobile accident. The Christmas lights did not come on that or the following year.
Then complications from Marvin’s 2010 hip surgery prevented the displays being put back up until 2014.
The Hunters credit God for bringing back the lights. Marvin, who is 82, spends most of the day connecting lights and hauling cords around the property.
Mr. Hunter retired from Coosa Valley Contractors in Rome in 1997. Mrs. Hunter is now retired after many years working at the Lyerly Mohawk plant, according to Fran.
Mrs. Hunter will put on her Christmas attire and wave at passing motorists.
“She loves it,” Fran said.
The lights come on around 6 p.m. most days, except Sundays and Wednesdays. Those are reserved for church, Fran said. If it’s raining, the lights won’t come on those days either.
“We don’t burn the lights on those days,” she said.
Over the years the Hunters had attracted a fan base. Visitors have come from Atlanta, Macon, Rockmart and Carrollton, the Hunters said. Many bring cameras and cellphones.
To reach the Hunter home, take Highway 48 from Summerville and turn right at Martin Street. Take the second left on Alexander Street and when the road ends, the Hunters are on the right.