The trolley tour of holiday lights across Cheyenne started back in 1991, and it’s included holiday tunes, warm clothes and Steven Schwarts.
The tour typically makes Schwarts’ home the grand finale. Schwarts started the tradition more than 30 years ago putting lights up for his kids since it was something he wanted to do experience with his dad but didn’t get the chance.
“It started with a couple strings of lights and decorations that were on sale after Christmas,” Schwarts said. When he remarried, he and his family played off each other’s holiday spirit, decorating the inside to the outside, and the enthusiasm for lights and sparkles grew from there.
Now putting up the lights and decorations is a full time job in itself. Schwarts dedicates five hours a day once it starts getting cooler. Organization is an important factor: He keeps a chart of what he does everyday, how the weather was and who volunteers. He slows down in the middle of December, but his work is never ending.
“After I have so much out, no one really notices much after that, but that’s when I start experimenting with different things,” Schwarts said. “So I can try something new that I haven’t done before because if it’s a flop, then no one really notices.”
A lot goes into creating this winterland masterpiece. He has 300 vintage plastic snowmen, santas and penguins and more than 400 extension cords and 4,000 zip ties. Last year he had more than 70,000 lights, but replacing them with LEDs, he cut his $700 power bill in half.
That sense of experimentation leads to some unique items: In front of the deck he calls “the bird house,” a setup of illuminated mini arches surround a group of plastic penguins.
One of his most favorite pieces is the “alien.”
“The alien moves around the yard by himself from time to time,” Schwarts said and laughed.
Sit back and enjoy the ride while the trolley plays all your favorite holiday tunes.
“Folks can bring their mug of hot chocolate or cookie” said Jill Pope, who organizes the trolley tours.
Schwarts enjoys bringing his own treats to the show. He loves enjoying the lights with his kids and now his grandkids. The Schwarts also love to share their joy and pass out candy canes on Christmas Eve among their sea of lights.