OBX special “Christmas Houses”
From ‘Hands of Gold’ to a heart of gold

By on December 21, 2023

Photos courtesy of the Mennicucci family
Photo credit Ben Sproul
Dave Mennanucci. Photos courtesy of the Mennicucci family
Photos courtesy of the Mennicucci family
Photos courtesy of the Mennicucci family
Photos courtesy of the Mennicucci family
Photo credit Ben Sproul
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Proceeds from Mennicucci Christmas House go to fight hunger

(This is part of an ongoing Voice series on the OBX’s special ‘Christmas Houses’)

In the past decade, the Mennicucci family has collected a total of $19,573 and 6211 pounds of food from visitors who have come to enjoy their “Hands of Gold” Christmas display at 206 Clamshell Drive in Kill Devil Hills.

“We just pay the electric bill, and my husband does the hard work setting it up. It’s everybody else that…brings all that food and money to us that [allows us] to turn that all into the Beach Food Pantry,” says Deborah Mennicucci. “We’re very, very lucky.”

The Mennicuccis have decorated their home for 23 years, ever since they moved in. Deborah recalls that it began as a hobby for her husband Dave, who does all of the building and sets up of the 70,000-light display. But in 2013, one visitor put $10 in their hand and thanked them for their hard work.

“And it kind of threw us off,” recalls Deborah. “We took it, but it was just kind of odd. You’re not used to getting tips like that. And so, we got talking about it that season.”

It gave them an idea. Why don’t they start collecting donations of money and food and donate the proceeds to a local charitable organization. They thought about Toys for Tots, but the time is limited for how long you can collect for them. They chose Beach Food Pantry because they could collect throughout the season. And this year, Dave, who owns Hands Of Gold Home Improvements, was awarded the Business Partner of the Year award from Beach Food Pantry for his efforts.

“Thankfully, we have never needed the Food Pantry, but we know how wonderful it is. We know how beneficial it is. You literally can just go and say, ‘I’m hungry this week,’ and show your county ID, and they will give you food for the week,” says Deborah, adding that you don’t have to be on food stamps and there are no income requirements to qualify. “It just is such a great cause.”

According to Deborah, the donations have grown each year, and the neighborhood and the community have embraced the idea, with many making it part of their Christmas tradition. That includes one 15-year-old who has saved his birthday money every year since he was eight to bring to the Christmas display each year to donate.

“We have a bicycle crew that lives in the neighborhood. And every year for the last eight years, they bike down to our house on their bicycles. We’ve watched their kids grow up,” explains Deborah. “They sing Christmas carols and bring donations. It’s just those little things that make us want to do it every single year.”

The Mennicuccis say their favorite part of the display is that everything looks like it is dancing. Dave builds the decorations with wood, including flipping candy canes and jumping dolphins that dance to 13 different songs.

“It’s actually quite a process,” says Deborah, explaining that it takes multiple hours to program one song. “We don’t add songs too often. So when he does, it’s a big deal because it’s just a lot of work for him.”

The Mennicuccis also figured out how to transmit their Christmas music with a FM radio transmitter they bought from Amazon 10 years ago after neighbors complained of the volume of the music. Ever since then, visitors can tune into 107.9 FM to hear the music that is matched to their light show. The family still has it playing on speakers in the yard, just not as loud. But Deborah says it’s nice because people can turn it up as loud as they want in their car, and they don’t have to roll down the windows to hear the music when it is cold.

This year, they have also added a bubble machine, which is a big hit with the kids. And if you donate money or food to their drive, they’ll turn on their special snow machines and give you a spray of real snow in celebration.

Deborah says last year was their biggest financial year, raising $7,302, but so far this year, they’ve raised just $1,183. This worries the Mennicuccis because, after speaking with the Beach Food Pantry, they learned that with inflation, the cost to the organization of providing one meal has gone up from sixty cents to one dollar.

“And so it is just now more than ever so important that people donate,” notes Deborah.

(The lights at the Clamshell Drive home are on display from Sunday to Thursday 5:30 to 9:00 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 5:30 to until 11 p.m. through New Year’s Eve, except if it is raining.)

SEE ALSO: OBX’s special “Christmas Houses’: ‘I’m just a kid at heart’ The Hood house is a must-see Christmas treat

OBX’s special ‘Christmas Houses: Michael Coley’s Manns Harbor Christmas show

OBX’s special ‘Christmas Houses’: The Facendas’ Kitty Hawk Christmas Land


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 https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b for more information.

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


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