By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on November 24, 2021
For the past 16 years, Daryl and Verdery Hood have been spreading Christmas cheer with an eye-catching holiday display at their Grandy home that is not only an example of their own creative talents, but also reflects their lives.
“Everything out there, we made it all. And it’s kind of telling our life story to a degree,” said Daryl, who told the Voice that he is ahead of schedule this year putting up the display at their home at 173 Carolina Club Drive. He estimates that 90 percent of their annual display will be up by the end of Thanksgiving weekend, on Nov. 28.
Each year, more than 60,000 lights illuminate plywood decorations cut out by Daryl and hand painted by Verdery. The stunning display attracts numerous visitors and passersby during the holiday season. The display takes about 60 to 80 hours to set up, Daryl said
As animal lovers who have lots of dogs and cats, the Hoods also have festive plywood dogs and cats popping out of presents and stockings decked with Santa hats. “We’re big dog people and cat people and that’s why we have the dogs [and cats] because that is just our life. We don’t have kids, we have dogs and cats,” Daryl said.
Jumping dolphins following Santa’s boat is an idea that was born after the Hoods and Daryl’s mother took their boat to Oregon Inlet 10 years ago. A group of dolphins at that time put on a show and the couple incorporated that experience into their Christmas display.
And Frosty the Snowman, standing at eight feet tall, is supposed to be Daryl and his two helpers, Verdery and her sister.
The Santa driving the boat hooked up to a team of nine reindeer is set up in the lot next to the Hoods’ home, and behind the boat are about 4,000 blue lights that resemble water. Santa’s boat is coming through an enchanted forest of 20 trees Daryl has made from plywood, with each tree having 1,000 different colored lights. On top of the water are two Cypress Garden water skiers and the three Christmas dolphins jumping behind the boat.
“The cool thing about it that…everyone says, ‘it’s like it’s not the biggest display I’ve ever seen, but it’s just classy.’ We don’t have a bunch of blinking lights everywhere like Disney World or something,” Daryl notes.
The Hoods leave the display up through the 12 days of Christmas, but since that falls on a Wednesday this year, they will keep the display out until Friday, Jan. 7.
As Daryl explains, “I’ve always been into Christmas and my wife has always been into Christmas. We got married twenty-four years ago. And then it was like two stars collided.”