The Christmas inflatables of Southern Shores

By on December 23, 2020

(Photo courtesy Paul Borzellino)
(Photo courtesy Paul Borzellino)
(Photo courtesy Paul Borzellino)
(Photo courtesy Paul Borzellino)
(Photo courtesy Paul Borzellino)
(Photo courtesy Paul Borzellino)
(Photo courtesy Paul Borzellino)
(Photo courtesy Paul Borzellino)
(Photo courtesy Paul Borzellino)
(Photo courtesy Paul Borzellino)
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Paul and Carla Borzellino of Southern Shores first began collecting and putting up inflatable Christmas decorations when they lived in Warrenton, Va., adding the characters that their grandchildren liked to their collection each year. When they moved to the Outer Banks in 2013, the couple had about 20 inflatables.

“I remember maybe our first [inflatable] was a little Disney Mickey Mouse,” Paul recalls. “And I just got a kick out of the way you’d have this little bitty box they come in and you plug it in, and it expands and inflates… and is huge compared to the little box that it comes in.”

(This is part of an occasional series on special OBX Christmas Houses.)

Fast forward to 2020, and their house at 16 7th Avenue is adorned during the holiday season with hundreds of icicle lights twinkling from their multiple decks, Christmas villages and most notably, more than 100 inflatable Christmas decorations.

With some towering as high as 20 feet, the inflatable winter wonderland includes Santa Claus sailing in the pool, a festive Star Wars cast, Frosty, the Grinch and more. The display is a work in progress since the Borzellinos are continually adding to it.

Most recently, an inflatable Jabba the Hutt and Hot Rod Santa have been added to the mix, as well as a 12-foot Santa Claus on the crow’s nest who, on windy days, looks like he is dancing and waving to passersby.

Visitors, who number well over 100 on some nights, can park and stroll through the yard, where they will be engulfed by not only all the inflatables, but also by the Christmas spirit. Christmas signs, an outside Christmas movie, cookies and candy canes are all part the experience for visitors.

Another new addition just this week, Paul said, is a donation box for Toys for Tots.

Paul and Carla Borzellino (Photo courtesy Carla Borzellino)

While the Borzellinos acknowledge that the display, which they begin working on around Thanksgiving, requires a lot of effort to set up and maintain, particularly with the wind weather, Carla says the couple sees it as their “gift to the community.” And over the years, more and more people have volunteered to help them set up. “We’re just happy we can do something that makes everyone feel good,” she adds, noting that the look on children’s faces and the gratitude shown by visitors makes it well worth it. “They always were appreciative, but this year [with COVID] they’re even more grateful that they have this to come to.”

“I view myself as kind of a specialist on the inflatables because lots of people try them, but especially with our wind that we have here, it’s tough,” Paul explains. Each one is on a platform that he built, and he uses bricks to secure them in addition to tying them down.

Because of the anticipated wind and stormy weather predicted for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Paul says they may have to shut down on those days. But the display stays up through Jan. 5. Lights go on at dark and remain on until about 9 p.m.

While some people choose to drive by, the Borzellinos always encourage visitors to stop and stroll through the display since only about a third of it is visible from the street.

As for visitors finding their home, a 20-foot inflatable Christmas tree is positioned so that you can see it from Duck Road.

Referring to that fact, and the size of the eye-catching display, Paul says: “I have people ask me our [exact] address. But I always tell them you don’t need it. You’ll see it.”

A grand Christmas display in Grandy

‘It feels good in the heart’


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


See what people are saying:

  • Betsy Thiede

    Thank you so much for creating the lovely display. It really cheered me up.

    Monday, Dec 28 @ 6:13 pm