Lights brighten Beaumont

The Hanks residence on Windemere Drive

Driving around Beaumont this time of year, you will no doubt see the soul-warming glow of Christmas lights beaming up and down the city’s streets after the sun sets. For many, this time of year is most magical because of the sparkling, colorful lights and the warm fuzzy feeling people get while admiring them. While there are several places around town to get your bright-light fix, The Examiner has cruised down a few neighborhoods to spot some of the best decorated residences.

Caldwood and the surrounding neighborhoods off Phelan Boulevard are famous this time of year for showing their spirit with grand houses and beautiful displays. Row after row of colorful streams of light illuminate the intertwining streets, and really capture the joy of the season.

Elegant, white lights dangle from oak trees in the neighborhoods off of Windsor in Beaumont’s West End. Streams of the golden glow wrap around pillars and outline windowpanes. This sophisticated outdoor décor will be the closest thing to seeing a white Christmas in this part of the country, so be sure to drive by and bask in the awe.

For the spectators that want to go that extra mile (or 5) to see one of the most amazing light shows Southeast Texas has to offer, look no further than Hanks’ animated light show on Windemere Drive off of Highway 105.

Nov. 1, Jeff Hanks starts putting up the lights to have the show ready for Thanksgiving night. He has a spec book that he designed for the layout of the lights. They have an FM transmitter that allows the Hanks to use an FM station to broadcast the music so that spectators are able to watch and listen to the show from their vehicles. The family has chosen the songs and Jeff has programmed the lights in sync with the music. It takes about five hours to program just a few seconds of each song.

“We have seven light controllers, which control a total 112 circuits,” said Hanks. “We also have a separate breaker box and outside plugs for the lights only.”

The Hanks family has been putting on the 40-minute light show for eight years and besides providing family entertainment, the family also sets up a donation box in front of the show for Buckner Children and Family Services.

“The last five years, we have included a donation box. One hundred percent of all donations collected go to Buckner’s Children and Family Services,” said Melissa Hanks.

The show, which has more than 45,000 lights seemingly dancing with traditional Christmas tunes, runs on a loop and can be enjoyed while listening to FM 103.1 while watching from your vehicle.

They do ask that you do not block driveways and that you turn off your headlights.

According to Buckner’s  Facebook page, they “are so grateful to the Hanks family for donating their time, talents and resources to bless Buckner children. … Please stop by 6180 W. Windemere in Beaumont for a fantastic light show, with synchronized music. God bless the Hanks Family and all who have contributed.”

The show runs Sunday through Thursday, 5:30-11 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 5:30 – midnight. This week for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day night, the show runs from 5:30 p.m. to midnight.

Brandi Haskett can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 227, or by e-mail at brandi [at] theexaminer [dot] com.