- Published on Thursday, 04 December 2014 14:14
- Written by Breanna Bright
Many towns take pride in their public light shows, decorating the parks and streets with lights and famous scenes to depict the stories and cheer of the season; it's a wonderful way to share the holiday with the community. In West Frankfort one man takes considerable time and effort to set up a Christmas display for the town. Candy Cane Lane is the creation of Tim Murphy, a retired art teacher who isn’t quite done making art with his students. Each year, starting as early as October, Murphy begins set up for Candy Cane Lane, a 5-block walk or drive-through Christmas wonderland full of characters and Christmas lights.
Candy Cane Lane is stuffed to the brim with characters of famous cartoons, from Peter Pan to Fievel, and new ones are made almost every year. They are built out of cardboard and Styrofoam by Murphy or one of his volunteers. Mickey and Minnie are new additions this year, as well as the Frozen cast, and a black light Nativity scene. Murphy estimates that there are anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 lights illuminating the 500 cartoon characters.
It’s not easy setting up such a large project, and Murphy has had plenty of hardships along the way. Two years ago a house fire struck Murphy’s home on the day after Christmas. The displays were still setup outside, safe from the flames, and Murphy has bounced back successfully. He has also obtained physical injury to his wrist, complicating his work, but there is plenty of help from his students and neighbors who pitch in to set up the lane and paint new additions. Murphy pays for the electricity himself, relying on generous donations from the patrons who enjoy the show.
Candy Cane Lane was once simply decorating fun between Tim and his father in 1988, now it’s one of the most popular exhibits in the area, and well worth the work when thousands of visitors come from all over the region to enjoy this special Christmas tradition.
Candy Cane Lane is open every night from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. until Christmas, and the entrance is located at the 600 block of East Main. From there just follow the candy canes!