December 19, 2012

Lighting the way

Check out these area Christmas displays

From Staff Reports

— Deck the halls, light the trees and hang ornaments on everything.

It’s that time of year again — time to ride around looking at Christmas lights. While Chattanooga, Tenn., has its share of well-known light displays, Whitfield and Murray counties have a few of their own.

We asked for input from our readers, who replied through Facebook, email and by phone. We included several of your suggestions and then we added a few of our ideas, too.

For families and others who are looking to get out to see the lights while staying close to home, here is a list, in no particular order, of places to go and what to expect when you get there. For a map of all the locations, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the various points to see more.

Brooker home

Pleasant Grove resident Jack Brooker has loved Christmas since he was a child. For more than 20 years, he’s shared that love of the holiday with anyone who wants to pass through his circular driveway to be awestruck by the thousands of lights he has on display.

There are lighted penguins, turtles, Disney characters, churches, Christmas trees, helicopters, backhoes, tractors, Santa Clauses, ballplayers, reindeer, gingerbread boys and Merry Christmas signs. New this year are a large American flag with two soldiers saluting it.

Unless there’s heavy rain, passersby are welcome to drive up to the Brooker home from 5:30 p.m. to about 10 p.m. every night.

To get there: From Dalton, head north on Glenwood Avenue. Continue on Cleveland Highway. After about six miles, turn right at Broadacre Road Northeast. The Brookers’ home is on the right.

Guess home

There’s no missing the home of David Guess. Drive anywhere within eyesight of 3385 Crider Road near Westside Elementary School, and you’ll know you’ve arrived.

Guess oversees the elaborate display of 10 acres of lights — many of them handmade —and has done so since about 1995. His brother-in-law, David Hall, does most of the work, he said. Before the lights went up at Guess’ home, his parents, Jack and Ruth Guess, had a similar display nearby since the early 1980s.

This year, Guess is inviting families to come by and look around then sit around a bonfire and drink hot chocolate when they’re finished. Many of his displays were handmade by welding rebar into the desired design or fashioning pipes into certain shapes. They hang from trees and on the sides of outbuildings or are stationed in his fields and are reflected off of a pond in the middle of the property.

The displays are open to onlookers from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and until 10:30 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

To get there: From Dalton, take U.S. 41 North. Turn left onto Ronald Lane in Rocky Face and continue onto Ga. Highway 201. Turn left on Utility Road near Westside Elementary School, then take the first left onto Old Crider Road. Continue onto Crider Road.

Pye home

There are thousands of lights and dozens of characters and displays for everyone to see from Tibbs Road in Dalton.

“Growing up, dad always liked Christmas lights, and so he started putting those lights out,” said owner Johnny Pye Jr. “We lost him in ‘96, but we keep the tradition going.”

In addition to traditional Christmas decorations, there are dragons, helicopters, old cars and a variety of other displays. The spectacle is designed for people to see from the road — and it’s hard to miss.

“Dad got a letter from the mayor and council years ago commending him for that (his Christmas displays),” Pye said. “He was happy.”

To get there: From Walnut Avenue, turn onto Tibbs Road at Steak ‘n Shake. The home is between Maple Way and Emery Street.

Embick home

Donna Embick is in remission after a battle with breast cancer said and it gives her great “joy” to see children enjoying her lights.

The lights are on at the Embicks’ north Murray County home until about 9:30 p.m. through the holiday season. There are more than 8,000 lights, several inflatable snow globes and figures, a train set and a dancing Santa.

Embick and her husband Jay live on a small dirt road.

To get there: From Dalton, follow Walnut Avenue into Murray County and turn left onto Ga. Highway 225 North. Turn left onto Fullers Chapel Road. Turn right onto Charlotte Drive.

Grant home

The Christmas spirit is far from missing on David Grant’s front lawn at 605 W. Woodland Drive in Dalton. With several children and grandchildren, Grant has been putting out his inflatable Rudolph, Mickey Mouse, Reindeer Railways train or whichever displays suit his fancy for about the last 10 years.

He welcomes people to drive by to look at the spectacles. Stop by during the week of Christmas, and visitors might catch Santa Claus on the premises handing out candy canes and posing for pictures.

To get there: From Underwood Street in Dalton, turn left onto West Woodland Drive. There are several decorated homes on the street. Grant’s is on the left.

Campbell home

Like many serious decorators, Don and Glenda Campbell start turning on their lights around Thanksgiving and leave them up until around the first of the year.

The lights are visible from the road for some distance, and Glenda Campbell said there are plenty of neighbors and others who drive by just to see them. From nativity figures to a cross image and giant candy canes as an entrance to their doorway, the Campbell home is decked out for the season.

To get there: From Dalton, take Ga. Highway 41 to Rocky Face. Turn left onto Old LaFayette Road. Turn left onto Sam Love Road. The home is at the intersection of Sam Love Road and Green Valley Drive.

Eton City Park

Lights dance and flash to the beat of a song for this Murray County tradition. It runs nightly through Jan. 1 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

This year there are more activities in addition to watching the show, according to Secret Santa founder Sheila Peabody. Secret Santa, an organization that helps buy presents for children, now runs the show and has added Santa sleigh rides, a craft area, rocking chairs, photos with not just Santa but the Grinch or more characters, too. All activities are $5 or less. For more information visit

To get there: From Ga. Highway 76, turn left on U.S. 411. In Eton, turn right on CCC Camp Road. Turn left at the post office. The park will be visible from the road.

View Area Christmas Lights in a larger map