Everyone is invited to enjoy radiant glow of Athens display

Lauren Steinheimer
A choir of carolers from Mount Shasta Children's Theater spread holiday cheer with Christmas songs at the Athens house on Douglas Lane in Mount Shasta Saturday evening. Open every evening from now until the first of January, the display shines with 100,000 holiday lights and includes hundreds of decorations including cartoon and movie characters. Dave Athens said he started setting it up in October to have it ready by Thanksgiving and plans to start a month earlier next year.

Families, friends and Christmas lovers of all ages are welcome to behold the winter wonderland created by Cathy and Dave Athens at their Mount Shasta home on Douglas Lane.

The radiant glow of 100,000 lights illuminates a pathway through an enchanted forest of holiday decorations.

Dave Athens said this is the seventh year he and Cathy have transformed their yard into the Christmas light display.

It’s open to the public every evening from 6 to 8 p.m. from now until the first week of January. Visitors on Friday and Saturday evenings are welcome to warm up with complimentary hot cocoa, coffee and cookies around a barrel fire.

Coffee mugs are provided for those who wish to fill up with a hot beverage and then take the mug home.

This past Saturday evening, a choir of carolers from Mount Shasta Children’s Theater treated visitors to popular Christmas songs as they strolled through the yard.

A large group of approximately 80 Grenada Elementary students in grades K-3 visited the Athens display on a field trip Friday morning. The students toured the decorated yard with wide eyes and cheery faces, then patiently lined up to visit with Santa Claus, clutching the letters they had written to him.

Each student got a toy from Santa along with cocoa and cookies. Once they were finished visiting, they compared toys and romped on a little play area set up for young kids.

While walking through the sparkling pathway, one of the older students commented, “This is amazing, it must have taken days to set up!”

Dave Athens said he started setting up the display in October. With the help of his wife, daughter and grandson, the whole thing came together shortly after Thanksgiving. Dave said he’s still working on getting more decorations set up. “Next year, I’m starting in September,” he said.

In addition to the thousands of lights, the display includes several giant inflatables, a classic ferris wheel depicting Disney’s seven dwarves, and countless cutouts of popular cartoon characters from Fraggles to Care Bears.

A glowing flying saucer hovers over a cluster of alien characters such as ET and the little aliens from Toy Story. Sparkling penguins huddle by a cove of igloos and glowing reindeer prance in place throughout the display.

Several spots are set up for photo opportunities. Visitors can pose as snowmen in holiday cutouts, sit on a decorated bench swing or pile into Santa’s sleigh.

Many of the classic decorations came from the old Silva display that used to decorate the lot next to the cemetery on Lassen Lane. Over the years, Dave and Cathy have added to it with their own festive trimmings. They said they receive many donations from members of the community as well.

A donation box is set up at the Athens house for those who wish to help cover the cost of electricity that fuels the display.