In Zach Nielson’s front yard this past Christmas, there were upwards of 100,000 lights colorfully glowing the happiness of Christmas. “More than most people have,” 17-year-old Zach smiles.
The incredible display outside the family home in Nicholasville, Kentucky, goes by the name Wild Lights. It’s a computer synchronized music-light show that dazzles. Cars line up around the corner to take it in, that’s thousands of people during weeks the mega display is active.
Zach has a fascination for Christmas illumination. “I’ve always loved the glow, and going around looking at Christmas lights with my family.” He explains there are 4 holiday light shows in nearby Lexington, “And I always loved just sitting there and watching them.” Sometimes Zach would study carefully taking in multiple shows. “And I was like, ‘I wonder if I could do that eventually?’”
In our complete podcast interview, Zach explains the first cool technology that caught his eye, and how he launched his own first trial Christmas show.
But, for Zach, this is about much more than mesmerizing lights. “I’ve always believed that Jesus died for our sins, and he came to the world as a baby. And that was one thing that I wanted to really broadcast throughout our show. The first thing we ever did with our light show was put in a manger scene,” which has been improved over the years. “It sparks a conversation about what I believe and why I believe it, and why I believe that Jesus is the reason for the season.”
In addition to the free pure fun of watching, people driving by can donate to the non-profit Zach chooses each year. This season it’s charity: water, which helps provide safe clean drinking water for underdeveloped communities in many parts of the world.
Food trucks? Yes. Rotating trucks on different nights offering hibachi, Mexican, and bar-b-q, with a portion of sales going to charity: water.
As for the monthly electric bill? “Since we use LED, it’s not as bad as incandescent.”
This is Zach’s final year in high school, and he’s considering plans for his future. One interest is “church production.” And he’s already hands-on. The church he attends encourages him on ways to create professional lighting, audio, and video presentations for church events. A nice match for his definite and growing skills.
In our complete interview podcast just below, meet Zach Nielson, a young man who is already making a difference in the lives of others.
Below: The master control computer grid for the complex Wild Lights show: