By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on November 22, 2021
Approximately 70,000 Christmas lights connected by two miles of extension cord will illuminate the season at a Kill Devil Hills home starting on Thanksgiving night – all for a good cause.
For the eighth year in a row, Deborah and Dave Mennicucci will light up their yard at 206 Clamshell Drive to not only spread holiday cheer, but also to raise money for the Beach Food Pantry. Last year, the Mennicuccis raised a record $4,250 and collected 1,499 pounds of food for the pantry as part of their “Hands of Gold” Christmas display.
“We would love to top our totals and are keeping our fingers crossed that people will come out in droves like they did last year,” Deborah said. The display – which features the lights dancing to 14 different holiday songs that Dave programs on his computer – goes through New Year’s Eve and runs until about 9 p.m. during the week, and a little later on the weekends.
“We always just hope people are as generous as their life allows,” Deborah said. Visitors, who can hear the music from the speakers in the yard or by tuning in to FM 107.9 in their cars, can donate non-perishable food or cash. The family will deliver the donations to the Beach Food Pantry on Dec. 26.
While Deborah and Dave and their two teenage sons, Eric and David, have been decorating their home for some time, they began raising money as part of the display eight years ago. That first year, in 2015, the family raised $100 and 200 pounds of food. Since then, the display and fundraising efforts have continued to grow. In 2019, the family raised $1,182 and collected between 600 and 700 pounds of food.
Visitors are welcome to drive by and walk in the driveway, but they are asked not to enter the yard.
Deborah told the Voice that her husband begins working on the display in mid-October, with it taking about six weeks to get it ready for Thanksgiving night. And she jokingly added that Thanksgiving can’t come soon enough because once the display lights up for the first time, “Dave’s stress level comes down.”
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