SPRING HILL — To see the full show, arrive after twilight. That's when Joseph and Connie Castorino turn on all of their Christmas lights.
Thirty years' worth.
It's a dazzling display, and not just the lights and ornaments in the yard. The highlight, in fact, is a town of miniature, brilliantly lighted houses and winter scenes mounted in 11 tiers in the two-car garage.
"Each year we add a building or two," said Connie, 61, noting that the couple has been collecting and displaying for the three decades they have lived at 7452 Alhambra Court. "We've never really counted them."
The biggest attraction for visiting children is front and center, on several risers: gliding skaters on three ponds, a circling Ferris wheel, a musical carousel, a mountain gondola, a slope with skiers in action, an ascending hot air balloon, a stage with dancers performing The Nutcracker.
"We try to put something active in front," said Connie. "Kids get here and are mesmerized. They see the littlest things."
Joseph, 62, said he and his wife started simply, with nothing more than lights on the gable. What is now the garage display started on the dining room table. But the ambition and collection outgrew the indoor space.
"These are old things, not the new blow-ups," Joseph said of the yard display.
He mentioned a pair of ceramic waist-high candles at the front entrance, a relic from his late parents' home that he remembers growing up with.
"We just enjoy doing it," he said of the display.
The first decoration to go in the front yard was a nativity scene, proposed by Joseph. The Castorinos still maintain it in a separate part of the yard, away from the secular decor, which includes Santa, reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.
"They really shouldn't be mixed," Connie said.
Joseph noted that they formerly included the baby Jesus when they put out the nativity each year. But someone pointed out Jesus didn't arrive until Christmas Eve. "(So) we don't put Jesus out until Christmas Eve," Joseph said.
The Castorinos invite any and all visitors for a look their house — the jewel in what is a well decorated neighborhood.
Beth Gray can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.