Holiday Lights: Frank and Dianne Polimene's Santa Train in Ahwatukee
|Photos by Benjamin Leatherman|
|Frank and Dianne Polimene's Santa Train and holiday light display in Ahwatukee.|
In the shadows of the nearby South Mountain, the landmark red lights of the peak's television towers shine in the darkness overhead as a sea of glowing merriment takes place in the couple's front yard.
The centerpiece of the display is a scale-sized Christmas train driven by Santa Claus, complete with a hot cocoa tank car, that chugs around a 100-foot-long track encircling the display. Built by Frank Polimene, a retired hardware store owner, it's activated by the push of a button (or from the flashing high beams of passing vehicles) and also has a flatcar that's periodically filled with candy canes for visitors by a automated loader.
Strands and lights: An estimated 17,000 lights.
|The Santa Train keeps chugging along.|
Inflatables: None, but their next-door neighbor has a gigantic Santa Claus on his rooftop.
Other decorations: A dozen eight-foot-tall twinkling snowflakes are erected on the hill behind the house while an illuminated volcano belches smoke along the train tracks. Stuffed animals ride on a Ferris wheel, candy cane carousel, and teeter-totter. On top of the roof, a wooden cutout of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer tries to hoist Santa up to the chimney using a rope and pulley, and one of the garages is occupied by a life-sized interactive Saint Nicholas that sings and dances after being activated by clapping.
Estimated electric bill: "It's not so bad anymore," Frank says. "It used to be $300 a month, but since I switched over to CFLs [compact fluorescent lightbulbs] and LEDs, it's only an extra $120 a month."
Frank and Dianne Polimene's holiday display is located at 541 East Mountain Sky Avenue in Ahwatukee. Hours are from 5-11 p.m. nightly through January 1. Click here for more info.