Dallas radio personality Corby Davidson remembers the herculean effort put forth in decorating the family’s residence in preparation for the Arlington neighborhood’s blowout holiday lights tour.
Interlochen Christmas lights, a 40-year holiday tradition, attracts thousands of families who cruise through this Lake Interlochen neighborhood in Arlington every December. It’s even been named among Redfin’s best neighborhood Christmas light displays in the country.
But for Davidson, a sports radio host for KTCK-AM (1310)/KTCK-FM (96.7) The Ticket, he’ll say it was no fun for a kid who had to help the old man put up lights.
“As a kid, it was a pain the ass,” Davidson says. “Yes, we decorated the house. I think my dad felt the pressure to keep up with the neighborhood. I know it wasn’t his favorite thing to do. And for me, when I turned 12 or so, I was forced into child labor and helped him every year.”
Davidson is kidding, of course. He’s a proud product of Interlochen and makes that fact known while co-hosting The Ticket’s award-winning afternoon show, the Hardline.
But while Little Corby griped, the Davidson family’s Clark Griswold-ian approach paid off. Over the years, they contributed to Interlochen being regarded as one of North Texas’ most popular drive-through holiday light tours.
Since 1976, hundreds of thousands of vehicles have snaked bumper-to-bumper through the northwest Arlington neighborhood’s streets to see about 200 homes show off their holiday spirit. Visitors can see creative Christmas light shows, colorful inflatable displays, carousels, nativity scenes, and festive lights designed to show off the neighborhood’s canal system.
This year’s two-mile tour runs Dec. 18-25. The neighborhood has cut back on the tour’s days because of budgetary reasons related to paying overtime to Arlington police for traffic management.
“Other than it being a couple of days shorter and what we’ve seen in the past, most of the neighborhood is pretty excited,” says Ralph Sobel, the Lake Interlochen Homeowners Association president.
The tour started in 1976 when the late Robert Findlay and his wife, Carole, put more effort into their Christmas decorations as a way to highlight the new development. The neighborhood followed suit and a tradition was born.
“We have lots of individual houses that stand out, but with Interlochen, the whole is bigger than the sum of the parts,” Sobel says. “The houses are all about the same height, so one house leads right up to the house next to it, and houses flowing into houses. It’s a really fun experience.”
The Davidsons moved into their home in 1974. When the light tour started getting popular from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, traffic was a “real hassle,” says Davidson, channeling Little Corby.
“Around 1985 or so, they designated one particular line for residents and one for non-residents, so that helped out a lot,” he says.
Little Corby leveraged the traffic into profit. “We (the kids) made some extra cash selling Cokes and popcorn throughout the route,” he says.
Davidson says growing up, “it was pretty cool to always see the neighborhood on the news, and sometimes there would be articles in the paper with accompanying pictures.”
Then Little Corby spoke up: “But overall, I’d say the neighborhood kinda got sick of it all. But there’s always turnover in these ‘hoods, and the newbies want to get their shot at decorating.
“So, it’s basically a never-ending cycle.”
If You Go
Off Interstate 30 westbound, take the Fielder Road exit and drive south to Randol Mill Road. From eastbound, take the Eastchase Parkway exit and turn east on Meadowbrook Boulevard to Randol Mill.
This year, visitors can enter the neighborhood from Westwood Drive at Randol Mill Road. The right lane is for visitors and the left lane is reserved for residents.