ACT News

Canberra pushes for Christmas lights world record

The streets of his suburb have been choked with cars as thousands visited to walk under his staggering displays of Christmas lights. 

Now David Richards is preparing a display three times the size for another attempt at a world record, this time for the largest LED light image display. And his neighbours will be pleased to know it will be nowhere near his Forrest home. 

From left, David Richards, Jane Easthope, and Richard Luton.
From left, David Richards, Jane Easthope, and Richard Luton.  Photo: Jamila Toderas

In an attempt to beat the current record, which stands at 1,000,012 bulbs, Mr Richards travelled to China to buy and ship 4.2 tonnes of LED Christmas lights back to Canberra in a shipping container, which arrived on Friday.

"This will be three times bigger and 10 times better," he said. "You wait till you see this thing go. They're doing a tunnel, 50 metres long, dancing to the music. You wait till you see it."

Vowing never to put his neighbours through what he did last year, Mr Richards said this concept had outgrown the suburbs. 

"My house will be absolutely black, I'm going to turn every light off – even the inside lights, we'll be navigating by torchlight," he said, laughing.

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Instead, the display will be hosted by Canberra's city centre in continued support of SIDS and Kids.

 "In Civic there will be three large Christmas presents," he said. "One of them is the merry-go-round and on either side of that will be two tunnels people can walk through."

Fifty metres long and 14 metres wide, the tunnels will be programmed to light up to the tune of Christmas carols, complete with 12-metre bows that can change colour.

SIDS and Kids chief executive and project co-manager Nathalie Maconachie has high hopes for the Civic display, which starts on November 28, describing it as "the next Floriade".

"Canberra city will come to life all in one go," she said. "We are also on a contract to do it for three years, so it's going to be huge."

 Jane Easthope, chief executive of principal sponsor Canberra CBD, said the lights would build on the past few years of Christmas activity in the city. 

"There will be the light display and night markets, cubby houses and camels," she said.

While Mr Richards knows the world record target he has to beat, he's keeping the exact number he has planned a secret for now. 

"I can't tell you how many lights we'll have in total, just in case someone hears and tries to beat us, but I've got a few extra lights for if that happens," he said.