Family brightens Christmas one last time

Posted at 6:19 PM, Dec 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-24 19:19:10-05

For more than 30 years, Dave and Kay Black have been brightening up the city of Independence.

"I think sometimes we lose the fun part of Christmas and we just lose that joy sometimes," said Kay. "I am hoping that we inspire people."

Their home, located off of North Liberty Street and Kemper Avenue, is adorned with thousands of lights and holiday signs.

There are 22 snowmen, 22 Christmas trees, a nativity scene and dozens of inflatable decorations. Every year, for the past 33 years, the decorations have become bigger and brighter.

"I built almost everything myself," said Dave. "It's my thing. I get great a joy out of doing it and it's just grown into a monster."

This Christmas will be their last.

Dave is turning 79-years-old and the work, he said, is getting too hard.

"It's been physically really tough on me this year," he said. "I do most of it myself. I get some help from the kids and my wife but I do most of it myself. There have been a lot of times where I have ran in, sat down in the chair and went right to sleep I was so wore up."

The Blacks start decorating Sept. 15 and will typically leave the decorations up until the first of the new year.

A majority of decorations have been built by Dave from scratch.

"Every day he comes out and at nighttime he looks out to make sure everything is lit," said Kay. "If it's not, he's out here trying to fix it or find a wire that's come loose."

One of Dave's newer projects consisted of creating two larger-than-life sized reindeers and a sled, which took  24 sheets of plywood to build and almost eight gallons to paint.

He also, with the help of his grandson, created a Christmas tree covered in lights that syncs to music.

Next year, he will keep the tree and some snowmen. The reindeer and sled will soon be sold.

"We are going to really, really size down to what we would say a normal display," he said, while laughing.





Ariel Rothfield can be reached at

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