The year is 2005. Mark Zembruski & Kevin Thomas attend their first regional Christmas decorator meeting at Bill & Nancy Foley's house on Lake Saint Clair. We met in Bill's workshop and wow, what a workshop it was. Antique petal cars hanging from the ceiling and Bill had just about any tool or power tool you would ever need to build anything.
We had a great time, learned a lot, meet lots of great people and couldn't wait for the next one. Bill agreed to host the next years gathering only if Mark and Kevin ran the meeting.
The meeting continued to grow and we used to call it a "Mini" PLUS after the founder Chuck Smith of Planet Christmas coined the phrase. A few years later Mark came up with the name "CLAP" for Christmas Light Addition Problem. Mark should have trade marked the phrase as it is showing up everywhere on t-shirts and mugs.
We lost Bill in October 2012 but Nancy insisted that we continue to have CLAP at their home and Bill's shop. We eventually outgrew Bill's workshop but were invited to his son Eric's property. Eric was just completing a replica firehouse that would be perfect for our meeting. We moved to the Foley Firehouse in 2018 which is actually a event venue managed by Jen and Eric Foley. This new venue is really unbelievable as the building was erected to resemble a real firehouse. The property is also home to the Foley fire engine collection. Bill and his family collected fire engines and the property has a dedicated barn which houses most of them.
Through the years of generosity by the Foley family, the CLAP meeting was always free to attend. The Foley's have volunteered their homes and catered a wonderful lunch but we had to step up eventually. This year we ask $25 per person. This is the best value of any of the regional Christmas events in the country.
This year we have many special guests.
Aubrey Kall joined the lighting community with Light-O-Rama equipment in 2009 and is heading into her 14th season as a sequencer. Her professional sequencing and design company, Luminous Harmony, was founded in 2012 and has allowed her to to be a part of commercial and residential show design in 32 states and 4 countries over the past 10 years. In 2021, Aubrey joined Light-O-Rama in an official capacity with a focus on educational material creation and business development. As a life-long musician, her biggest lighting-related passion is teaching others how to be intentional with their sequencing and make music a focus through their effects.
Darren Huffty has been decorating his whole life and his Christmas on Crystal Springs home is the must see destination in Jacksonville Florida. You may have seen Darren on The Great Christmas Light Fight where his display won the $50,000 prize. Darren has taught at CLAP before and his insight and knowledge is always welcome.
David Peace and the “Peace Family Christmas Light Show” is a show put together by the Peace Family every year for their Community in Escondido, CA, a suburb of San Diego. The Peace Family Christmas Light Show was featured on ABC's Great Christmas Light Fight in 2018. Due to the popularity of their show they moved their show to the California Center for the Arts, Escondido in 2020 where it continues to amaze and make memories. David is also the founder of Experience Lights and the Pixel2Things control products.
Paul Irwin has been decorating since forever and his house during Halloween and Christmas is simply amazing. His pixel experience will leave you breathless. Last year his "Arguing Trees" went viral on TikTok with 20mil+ views.
Gena Laws has both an amazing Halloween and Christmas display. "The Very Merry Christmas House" and "Spooktacular Halloween House" can be found on FB. Each year Gena does over a dozen traditional classic Christmas songs and she sequences each one to over 50,000 lights. Just the sequencing of that many songs to that many lights is mind boggling. They also support The Black Diamond Senior Center/ Food Bank with can food donations.
On a sad note, we lost a local Christmas legend, Don Magelssen. Don brought so much joy with his dedication and hard work out there doing up Anacortes Cool Christmas Lights. He will be missed.