Chateau Court Christmas display ready to amaze

By Rene De La Cruz
STAFF WRITER

With nearly 400,000 lights and numerous decorations, Jim and Gloria Hopper have transformed their front yard into a Christmas wonderland that has drawn thousands of people over the last 10 years.

“We do it for our community, especially for the kids,” said Hopper, 64, a general contractor who began decorating the day after Halloween with his son and grandson. “If it wasn’t for all the people that drive by we wouldn’t do it.”

Regular fans of the yard display began lining up on Nov. 27, just after Hopper flipped the switch that began the holiday spectacle of lights, music and motion.

“If you are not an electrician, you probably won’t be able to pull this off,” Hopper said. “We have a 128-channel controller for all the moving parts, miles of extension cords and a laptop that runs everything.”

Various surveillance cameras placed around the house keeps Hopper updated on the festivities outside.

“That camera catches everything,” Hopper said. “I’ve even seen people dancing in the street — now that’s the Christmas spirit.”

The yard’s biggest enemy is not vandals, animals or the $200 tab added to his monthly electrical bill.

“Our biggest problem is the wind,” Hopper said. “We’re well insulated so water is not a problem, even though my wife thinks we’re going to blow up when it snows.”

“We have an FM transmitter that plays 26 songs so people can sit in their warm cars, listen to our music and watch the show,” Hopper said. “It takes about four to eight hours to program each song that matches the motion of all the pieces out here.”

Despite the constant parade of vehicles that clog up the street, none of Hopper’s neighbors have complained.

“We have a good group of people on this street,” Hopper said. “I’m blessed to have such good neighbors.”

Although the inside of the couple’s house is not available for tours, the Hoppers’ home is quite the holiday show piece.

With two large Christmas trees, various animated carolers, multiple stockings and various figurines throughout multiple rooms, the dwelling has a distinct feel of Disneyland during the holidays.

“I hope you don’t think we’re nuts,” said Hopper’s wife, Gloria, as she sat near a 4-foot tall Christmas stocking. “We have 10 grandkids and they love it.”

Over the years, the Hoppers have met many families who have made the annual pilgrimage to see the yard and to thank the couple.

“The best compliment was from a 9-year-old who said, ‘In all my life, I’ve never seen anything so wonderful,’” Hopper said. “When we’re gone, I hope the memory of this place will be in the hearts and minds of many people.”

Hopper’s light show can be seen from 6 to 10 p.m. every day through New Year’s Day, at 13757 Chateau Court, just off Yucca Loma Road.

Rene De La Cruz may be reached at (760) 951-6227 or at RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com.