Lansing at Large: 20-Year tradition lights up Hillcrest

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There is a room above Glenda Long’s garage – she calls it her “embassy suite” – and that’s where she goes nights during the holiday season to wrap gifts and look out the window toward the intersection of Hillcrest Road and Forest Acres Drive to watch the cars slow down to take in her acre and a half of Christmas lights.


The whole thing began in 1996 when Glenda’s husband Barry retired from commercial construction firm McGuire and Bennett.


“We bought a big R.V. and hit the road to do some traveling,” Glenda said. On their way to Dollywood, the couple stopped at “Christmas Done Bright” in Sevierville, TN.


“We had never seen so many decorations,” Glenda said. “It just started the conversation and one thing led to another.”


At the time, the Longs lived in the Northeast with a smaller yard. When they moved to Lansing in 1998, they suddenly had a much larger canvas to work on.
“I said ‘hot dog,’ I am going to have some fun with this yard,” Glenda said.
The two Longs grew their decorations year after year for 10 years.


“About 10 years ago, we decided not to do it anymore,” Glenda said. “I couldn’t do it and Barry couldn’t do it. My son would help but he lived in New Jersey.”


Then, Tom and Amy Steffie moved in next door with their two little girls.


“We met our new neighbors in the middle of the street and Amy told us how much the girls were looking forward to the lights,” Glenda said. “We said ‘We can’t quit this year,’ and here we are, 10 years later.”


“Now, with my husband gone, I don’t care about traveling. I spend my extra money on the lights.”


Still, Glenda knew she needed help with the decorations.


“Seven or eight years ago, I picked up the Shopper and found a guy in Cortland – Shane the handyman,” she said. “He’s been coming over every year. It takes him and his helper four or five days to get everything done. They have to re-wrap the trees – the squirrels nick the wires.”


The entire yard has electrical service with ground fault interrupters and sockets all around.


“I have to have ground faults on the wires,” Glenda said. “Kids steal the lights and I don’t want them to get hurt. I always envision the lights in some dorm room somewhere.”


She doesn’t know how many lights there are all told, but a measure can be made from the fact that there are 400 lights per tree.


The decorations are spread across her front yard facing Forest Acres Drive, and in the back, facing Hillcrest Road. Glenda enjoys the backyard lights from her kitchen table.


The lights are lit on Thanksgiving night and stay on through the holiday. Unless it rains.


“I can’t fight the rain – it shorts out the lights,” Glenda said. “I pray for cold weather.”


The trains are her favorites.


“I had the small one and last year I bought the big one.”


Glenda also added a gingerbread trampoline in honor of her new gymnastics teaching daughter-in-law.


She paused while paging through her catalog of decorations.

“I think I will get some gingerbread men next year.”

Blood Drives
A holiday blood drives will be held on Dec. 21 at the Shops at Ithaca Mall from 1 to 6 p.m. All donors will get a free t-shirt and a long-sleeve t-shirt.


The Red Cross urges donors of all blood types to give now to help keep the blood supply stable during the holidays. Blood donations often decline from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day as people get busy with holiday activities.


Do you know someone who has never donated before? Please encourage them to make an appointment with you. Eligible donors with types O, B negative or A negative blood are encouraged to make a Power Red donation, where available.


Save time by using RapidPass to complete your pre-donation reading and health history online before you come to your appointment. Learn more at redcrossblood.org/RapidPass. Please call 1-800 RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org to make your life-saving appointment today.

Lansing Mobile Food Pantry
The Lansing Mobile Food Pantry will be open Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 1p.m., at The Rink, 1767 East Shore Drive. For more information, please contact Nancy Myers at (607) 592-4685.

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