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New home built for holiday light extravaganza

Volunteer carpenters were hard at work last week at the Word of Life conference center, creating a replica of a house that for 19 years drew tens of thousands of visitors to Hidden Lake Estates during the Christmas holiday season.

The Miller house at 8836 Cessna Drive was the most popular destination in Pasco County for folks who wanted to view elaborate lights and other displays, most notably 300 Cabbage Patch dolls. But because some neighbors complained about the heavy traffic, Lonnie and Sharon Miller decided to pull the plug this year.

In a story in the St. Petersburg Times a few weeks ago, Miller hinted that his decorations might be available for viewing at a different location.

"We could not have found a better place," Miller said. "And there is plenty of room for everyone to come see."

In addition to the replica of the Millers' house, workers will construct other miniature buildings to display the lights and dolls. There also will be other attractions, including the Millers' large snowman that blows white flakes into the air. To complement the display, workers have strung Christmas lights along more than 500 feet of rooftop at the Word of Life lodge.

Workers plan to have the decorations completed in time for the opening of The Sights and Sounds of Christmas, the annual family celebration at the Harry Bollback Performing Arts Center. Performances are scheduled Nov. 29 through Dec. 15.

The 500-acre Word of Life Florida campus is on the south side of Hudson Avenue, about 10 miles east of U.S. 19. To reach the center from State Road 52, turn north on Hays Road, go 2 miles, then go west on Hudson Avenue. The center's entrance is about 100 feet west of the large power line.