Paul Carroll has the most dazzling Christmas light display in the Ohio Valley. He lives on South Wabash Street on Wheeling Island, and every year since 2007, has been putting up a beautiful light display, synced to music.
He got started when his late son, Michael, found a video on YouTube. Paul fondly recalled the memory, “He goes ‘Dad come here!’ and I walk over and he goes, ‘You can do this, can’t you?’ and he smiles. And I look down at him, and I laughed, ‘Yeah… Yeah!’ And he goes, ‘okay!'”
Paul worked in secrecy for months, engineering and preparing a beautiful, bright display. He recalls the moment he told his wife, after she said she was going to buy some Christmas lights, and asked if he needed anything. Her candid response made him laugh, “We’re the Griswolds,” she said. Paul answered, “Not quite.”
One December night, the Carroll’s pulled up to their home after dinner. “We pointed out the window, and Michael looked at the house, and he goes ‘You did it. You actually did it!'”
Michael lost his battle with cancer on July 3, 2014. Paul said putting up the light show was a toss up this year. “I really wasn’t,” he said, “But then I thought, do it for Michael. Just do it for Michael.”
He re-engineered the beginning of the show, a dedication to Michael and his dream, Michael’s Meanies. It took him a month to put it all up. “I’m standing out there, for everything I do, I have to stop to let the emotions out,” he said.
Every year, hundreds of cars stop by the Carroll home. The light show is a big hit with the kids, especially. “I’ll get a letter, a child will put something in the mailbox, and you can tell it came from construction paper at school, and it’s written with school paint, and it says, ‘I like your lights.’ What else do you need?”
The show goes on, every night on South Wabash Street from 5 until 11 p.m. Cars can stop by, park, and enjoy the show, which features over an hour of Christmas classics synched to lights.
“I just couldn’t turn the lights out. I just couldn’t,” Paul said.