Holiday Lights Illuminate Park Forest

A white orb light on Devonshire Dr. Photo taken Dec. 15, 2021.

Caroline Concepcion

A white orb light on Devonshire Dr. Photo taken Dec. 15, 2021.

Claire Fox and Caroline Concepcion

Every year Christmas comes and goes, and with that, the Christmas lights go up, then slowly come back down. Over the past few years, Park Forest residents have been creating increasingly elaborate Christmas light displays. The intricately coordinated Christmas decorations have gained the attention of State College residents, and on Devonshire Drive, residents Sylvia and Mike Rushing put up a beloved display every year. 

The Christmas orbs the Rushings put up yearly have become dear to their hearts. Sylvia reflected on her favorite aspect of the orbs.

The volume,” Sylvia said. “Like, everybody getting into it. I mean, this year it’s just so pretty.” As creating creative lighting displays grows more and more popular each year, people all over have been getting into the spirit. 

With the increase in residents putting up Christmas lights, the Rushings have been sharing the instructions on how they make their Christmas orbs. This year, though, they opted not to share them, knowing that many have already received the instructions in past years.

“I have usually posted the instructions [for how to make the orbs] on the Park Forest Facebook page, but I felt like this year I didn’t have to post it,” Sylvia said. “I think enough people know how to make them that I didn’t need to post it.”

Sylvia Rushing’s orb light instructions.

Behind the bright displays the Rushings put up, comes a lot of work, work they’ve been doing for years now. 

“I don’t even know how many years we’ve done it. It’s at least 5,” Mike said. It’s amazing to see the amount of participation along with the amount of time that also goes into it. “Each year I dread the work,” added Mike, jokingly. 

He then discussed the process of stringing the orbs up. 

“I basically get a rope high on a tree. I take a rock with a small string on it, like a kite string, throw it up over a branch, grab it and then I pull a bigger rope up with that,” Mike said.

He pointed out that you can’t simply tie a rope to the chicken wire because it doesn’t hold—instead, you have to hook the rope to the orb, then string the rope through.

“The fundamental idea is you’re running the rope through the ball, trying to take the pressure off the balls, and at the same time you start running that you gotta start running the extension cords to plug in each ball,” summarized Mike. Although putting the orbs up might be a hassle, taking them down is as

Photo of the orbs strung up on a rope. Photo taken by Claire Fox on Dec. 15, 2021.

simple as untying the ropes and lowering them down. 

Although putting up the lights each year isn’t easy, many community members believe that it’s worth it. For Sylvia and Mike, this is certainly the case, and the couple reflected on how magical the lights are each year.

You can’t take a picture of it. I tried one time, just, a picture doesn’t do it justice at all,” said Mike. If you want to see the true magic of the Devonshire lights, make sure to drive by before they’re all down.