VCU employee creates popular light display

Published 4:14 pm Thursday, December 17, 2020

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The Elliott Family is well known in South Hill for its annual holiday light display on Callis Road.

Word of mouth travels fast and people line up 20 minutes early on a weeknight to get a good spot to watch the light show. No need to drive to Richmond to battle traffic for their Tacky Light Tour. This house blows them all out of the water.

New for 2020 is an additional 26,000 pixel lights for a total of more than 36,000. Zeb Elliott uses RGB pixel technology that choreographs lights to music from a radio station he hosts from his home. Signs on the property remind viewers to tune to 99.7 FM on their automobile radio. Special effects include a spotlight that instinctually makes you turn around to see where it came from. Familiar characters like Olaf and Minions entertain between sets.

It all started five years ago when Zeb’s wife asked him to install some icicle lights on the house. Appropriately, Zeb’s day job is the director of technical Services for VCU Health in Richmond. Zeb likes to exceed expectations and bring joy to his family. He has three girls, ages 3, 5 and 7. What started small has become a huge undertaking he begins in late August and is completed by mid-November.

“I want to leave a legacy my kids can be proud of,” he said.

To see the light show, visit 1899 Callis Road in South Hill from 6 to 10:30 p.m. until Jan. 3. Head west on Route 47 like you’re going to Chase City and turn right on Callis Road, about three minutes past the Food Lion. Take Callis all the way to the end of the road. There is an overflow parking lot past the End State Maintenance sign on the right that parallels the driveway to expand capacity up to 40 cars.

The show goes on rain or shine, but check the Facebook page if it is windy because the pixel trees have to be lowered to avoid damage:

Each night has a theme: Friday is “Kids Night” (including five songs from “Frozen” and “Frozen 2”) Saturday is “Old and New Christmas Hits,” Sunday is “The Reason for the Season” and Monday-Thursday runs a mix three-hour loop.