It is the only house in Montgomery County that you can drive around, enjoy the Christmas lights, and turn to a radio station and hear the music that goes along with the display.
The Cain Family Christmas is a special light show designed around favorite Christmas music. The show this year last about 45 minutes, but since the computer is set to repeat you never actually know where it begins and ends. There are 13,000+ lights in this years display. See this year’s show by driving to 409 Greensboro Street in Winona, and tuning in to 88.3 FM.
“I love the music and watching the lights dance,” said Sue Stidham of Winona. “Jesus is the reason for Christmas and this show adds an element of joy and merriment to our celebration. Love the Cain Family for sharing.”
“I love that you don’t have to be rich or famous or from a big city to bring the magic of Christmas to a small town,” said Becky Dees of Winona. “I love the joy that it brings to people, young and old, and that we all stop to enjoy the little things in life, like lights, music, and Christmas songs, at least for a few minutes during the Christmas season.”
It was his love of the Christmas tradition of enjoying Christmas lights that drew Joey to a video of a display like this on the Internet. He started researching it and found out about Light-O-Rama controllers and software. So, he ordered their first 16 channel controller to see if they could do make it work.
The first show was in 2011 with only 16 channels and six to eight songs. In 2012, Joey and Leigh Anne Cain added a controller for a total of 32 channels. In 2013, they added two more controllers for a goal of 64 channels. In 2015, they added a fifth controller and had 80 channels.
“This year we downsized to only 64 channels — 4 controllers– but was able to keep the same number of props,” Cain said. “We moved the extra controller to our house in Coffeeville.”
They also try to add new songs every year. This year’s show in Winona features 18 songs and over 13,000 lights synchronized to the music.
“I have lost count but we have used probably over 2,000 feet of extension cords to wire the show,” Cain said.
One of the special elements to this display is the FM radio transmitter that broadcasts the show on 88.3 FM. Show times are Sunday-Thursday 5-9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 5-10 p.m. through New Year’s Day. The nightly light show and radio broadcast is all run by computer.
“It is just a device that takes the sound from the computer and then broadcasts it on whatever FM station I set it too,” Cain said. “I picked 88.3 because that was a station that wasn’t used locally. Just about everybody that has a display like this using an FM transmitter so that guest that stop by can sit in the comfort and warmth of their car and listen to the music as they watch the lights.”
The Cains said it takes about 30 hours over several weekends to set the props out and wire them up and check out all the lights to make sure they are working correctly and wired correctly. The Cains also have a home in Coffeeville with a light show, and Joey helps sequence the light show for his brother’s house in Alabama.
“We spend all year sequencing the songs,” Joey Cain said. “There is software from Light- O-Rama that you have to sequence the song in. You have to tell it to turn this channel on at this particular time during the song and turn that one off. So it’s not just a plug and play type of thing.”
Cain said it roughly takes an hour or more to sequence just one minute of a song.
“So we are sequencing songs and listening to Christmas music all year long trying to find new songs to add to the show,” Cain said.
Cain said he and his wife like the two spiral trees the best. Each tree has 16 channels–eight channels green and eight channels multi colored. This year the two spiral trees are wired together so they are blinking and moving in sequence.
“One of my favorite things about the show is seeing the joy that it brings people,” said Leigh Anne Cain. “The smiles and amazement on their faces make it all worth while.”
As far as knowing how many people come by each year, the Cains say “it’s really hard to even guess.”
“We have some people who come by multiple times just to sit and watch or to bring their kids or grandkids,” said Leigh Anne Cain. “I know we have had people from Batesville, Grenada and Greenwood come by. I wouldn’t be scared to say 150-200 people, but then again, that is just a guess!”
Joey Cain was born and raised in Winona and when he is not sequencing music and light shows, he works at Howard Company Computers as the lead tech. Leigh Anne was raised in Grenada, and she works as the billing manager at Stanford Medical.
The Cains haven’t decided on a date to stop the show this year, but it will run through New Years. Watch for posts on the Facebook page “Cain Christmas Lights – Winona” for all the latest information.
This story can be found in the Dec. 1, 2016 edition of The Winona Times.