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vkjohnson

Rural Display Traffic

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Hi all,

Brand new to Planet Christmas, so forgive me for any way I might show my "Newbie" status. Just out of college and getting ready to animate for the first year along with tripling the number of lights to 75,000 or so by adding red and green.

Everyone has mentioned the difficulties with managing traffic and how that affects neighbors, but I was just wondering how much the surrounding residential population affects your traffic. Anyone out there from a relatively rural location away from large cities who has still had traffic problems? My town is only 5000 people and the only significant city is a good 25 miles away (Champaign-Urbana in central IL). I'm expecting everyone in town and in the immediate area to come by as they have before, but should I expect a spectator draw from that far away? How far away do people normally come from? Anyone else from a similarly rural location?

Thanks,

Victor

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Welcome Victor!

We live about 20 miles from the closest major town and traffic hasn't become a problem yet. Although we have had some support from several local media outlets for our charity event, we live far enough from "town" that it hasn't been much of an issue. We also have a similar local population to yours, and this past year it was rare to see more than 4 cars watching from the road at once. That may change this year - we'll see. This is only our 3rd year for animated lights and we have been gaining notoriety each year.

Brian from PA

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Thanks Brian,

You're right, I guess a lot of it would depend on the media coverage. I've made the regional newspaper in the past, but the display was nothing spectacular (at least compared to what I'm working on this year). The neighbors on my street have always appreciated the work I do, but this year we have new neighbors on either side of our house. Both moved in this spring and although I've made good connections with meeting them so far, they don't know about the Christmas lights yet, let alone the fact that the display is growing this year. Both neighbors have young kids, so I think that should help in the relationship once they find out.

Victor

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It good to keep the neighbors in the loop. I actually sent a "news letter" to the affected neighbors around me. I even invited them to join us and I explained why we were doing a big charity event and how much money/personal care items were donated. We do a big, one night drive for the Erie City Mission (local homeless shelter) and we have a guy fire off commercial grade fireworks. We had about 100 cars on our road even though I had arranged a "shuttle" from a near-by business. Local zoning prohibits parking on our road for this type of event but I got away with it - the event is only an hour and my neighbors are fairly tolerable.

In your case, if you plan on transmitting your music on a low-powered fm channel, you may want to create a message reminding "watchers" not to block driveways and to give your neighbors the "right of way". Pretty standard show intro stuff.

Brian

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Anyone out there from a relatively rural location away from large cities who has still had traffic problems? My town is only 5000 people and the only significant city is a good 25 miles away (Champaign-Urbana in central IL). I'm expecting everyone in town and in the immediate area to come by as they have before, but should I expect a spectator draw from that far away? How far away do people normally come from? Anyone else from a similarly rural location?

First welcome aboard, it's nice to see a new face.

Second, I'm in a larger town than you, but due to the power of the internet(webpage, and facebook) I have people driving well over an hour to stop by.

First thing I would do is make a webpage, or facebook page for the site, and create a sign asking people to become a friend and let you know they stopped by. You will be surprised how far someone will drive to see something "that cool".

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Welcome to PC !! No matter how rural you are, it is always a good idea to get the neighbors, and their neighbors, etc., on your side. At a minimum, they'll be the ones out picking up the beer cans.

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Welcome to the madness.

You'll get a small percentage that will drive an hour or more to see the show but nothing huge IMHO.

We get 90% of our visitors from a 20 mile radius. Of course there will always be that one family that drives from 3 states away to see it too.

Just be prepared to help people find there way down your street, especially the 3 days leading up to Christmas. During the week before Christmas we have 3-4 people directing traffic. This year we will be bringing off duty Sheriff Deputies too and maybe CERT volunteers.

Again, welcome to PC and this addiction we all share.

Larry

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Welcome to this crazy addiction.One thing i do is blow the snow off my neighbors sidewalks and driveways.Come christmas time they never have a problem with the lights.In fact my neighbor next to me i will be using half of his front yard this year.Just before christmas is when it gets very busy.Last year was my first year going animated with lor and by christmas i was getting 200+ cars per night.Never had any problems with garbage or anything else.11,500 popualtion.I mounted 3 cameras and watched everything on my lcd tv.

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Wow....I started this thread with my first post and this will be #290. Definitely grew out of a newbie quickly.

Thought I would answer my own question now that the year is almost over. I didn't get the animation running until the 2nd week of December due to LOR delays and my own underestimation of the time involved running over 1 mile of cords. Once I got it running I had the whole town of 4,500 talking and word got out quickly.

Started with 5 or 6 cars consistently through the night for the first week, then it grew to 10 or 15. Regional newspaper did a story as did the local paper and a quick 10 sec. spot on the news. That made traffic go up to a line of 20-30 cars every night that would cycle through (very orderly I might add) I have no idea how many cars total for any night, but I'm sure it was several hundred on the busiest ones. About half of my facebook messages are people who say the drove up to 30 miles just to come, so yes people are willing to make a drive once the word gets out. I also had over 300 facebook likes since my story ran in the newspaper about 2 weeks ago. I'm sure a lot of it is word-of-mouth as well.

All the neighbors are still on good terms. I told them several months ahead of time what I was doing and to expect traffic. Spoke with all of them right before Christmas and they were just happy to have a front row seat. I think they all understand that it is only one month out of the year, and I'm pretty good to them otherwise (always shoveling driveways out, helping with yard work, etc.) I also have a voice-over mentioning not to block driveways, but of course some don't listen. Next year I may make signs and offer to put them next to their driveways for them.

Oh, what a year it has been. Dove strait in with 192 channels and somehow made it work.

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Johnson, I gotta hand it to you ;) Great work on your show! Yes, I'm a FB fan of yours. You absolutely rocked your first year, AND I can only imagine what you'll accomplish as you begin to add more to your display. Congrats! You've beaten my traffic count. Here in my small town of 2,000+ I'm getting about 2 cars constant. I'm also on church street. Christmas eve and Christmas day, I had over 600 cars total. (everyone always asks how I'm able to count them lol) Other than that, my traffic has been like Brian's, 2-4 cars at is average. I've shut my display down at 9:30 also. Even on Christmas eve It was off by 11:15. Just not a lot of cars here.

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Thanks for the kind words Clyde. It was very stressful going with so many channels and learning the software in 5 months, but I learned a lot. My videos are finally done and posted on my website and facebook page.

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I was out shooting video last night and the crabbiest neighbor came by to tell me he and his family really liked the lights. I said you might not like it so much if I was in the paper and got lots of traffic. to my surprise he said "we can deal with it." Wonders never cease.

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Wow....I started this thread with my first post and this will be #290. Definitely grew out of a newbie quickly.

Thought I would answer my own question now that the year is almost over. I didn't get the animation running until the 2nd week of December due to LOR delays and my own underestimation of the time involved running over 1 mile of cords. Once I got it running I had the whole town of 4,500 talking and word got out quickly.

Started with 5 or 6 cars consistently through the night for the first week, then it grew to 10 or 15. Regional newspaper did a story as did the local paper and a quick 10 sec. spot on the news. That made traffic go up to a line of 20-30 cars every night that would cycle through (very orderly I might add) I have no idea how many cars total for any night, but I'm sure it was several hundred on the busiest ones. About half of my facebook messages are people who say the drove up to 30 miles just to come, so yes people are willing to make a drive once the word gets out. I also had over 300 facebook likes since my story ran in the newspaper about 2 weeks ago. I'm sure a lot of it is word-of-mouth as well.

All the neighbors are still on good terms. I told them several months ahead of time what I was doing and to expect traffic. Spoke with all of them right before Christmas and they were just happy to have a front row seat. I think they all understand that it is only one month out of the year, and I'm pretty good to them otherwise (always shoveling driveways out, helping with yard work, etc.) I also have a voice-over mentioning not to block driveways, but of course some don't listen. Next year I may make signs and offer to put them next to their driveways for them.

Oh, what a year it has been. Dove strait in with 192 channels and somehow made it work.

Wow! What a Great Experience for you! Congratulations! Now keep it going, don't burn out. If they loved it last year, they'll love it next year too. You don't Have to change anything, although I'm sure you will. IMHO it's better to be a star that keeps growing than a shooting star that is no longer there. Good Job and Congrats!

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... Now keep it going, don't burn out...You don't Have to change anything, although I'm sure you will. IMHO it's better to be a star that keeps growing than a shooting star that is no longer there...

Perfect advice. My plans for next year include adding only 2 new songs, 2 more firesticks, and a new element or two. The big addition is the neighbor's house to the show. If I can add that along with all the sequencing, well, I'll be a happy man :D

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I live 2 miles out of town. The first year we started on Thanksgiving night and for 2 weeks I had only seen 6 or 7 cars. Then the word got out. Cars up and down the road and parked in the neighbor’s vineyard. I go out and speck to people every so often, they come from all the neighboring towns and city. Now if I could just keep them from getting stuck in the pasture.

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Just saw this topic and had to chime in- We live in a 2,000 population town- Our nearest Wal-mart is 28 miles away in Jacksonville, Florida. This last year had both of our local papers (one freebee and one paid circulation) ran stories the same exact day- boy did we see traffic spike. From 5 cars to 20 cars in line. We are blessed to have a large frontage (250ft) and our neighbors house is open frontage so while all the viewing may not be prime most can see and most wait patiently for front row center. It drew such a buzz that Jacksonville TV was going to do a live remote on the morning show (before Sunrise and tape it for post-Sunrise) but their gear would not broadcast from our area:-( Long story short- if you hang tough the word gets out without a lot of work- word of mouth is your best advertisement for small town living- all the news travels fast!!!

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