It has been a part of Sedalia’s holiday tradition lighting up the night sky since 2009.
Many local residents and visitors from across the country travel each year to view the Christmas lights at Inter-State Studio and Publishing Co., 3500 Snyder Ave.
The business, owned by the Snyder Family since 1933, began the holiday lighting display in 2009.
“We had the idea in 2009 and started planning the lighting display in June of that year,” CEO Aric Snyder said. “We wanted to do something special for the community and for all of our out-of-town friends and family who would visit at the holidays.
“We truly believe that four walls and a roof doesn’t make a company, and so we wanted to give something back for all we have been given,” Snyder added.
The original idea for the lighting display that is synchronized to music came after Synder saw a commercial on television that used a similar effect.
“I knew what I wanted for the display,” Snyder said. “I just needed to find someone who could do the work.”
Snyder did not have to look far for that individual.
George Baim III, fulfillment manager for the company, heard of Snyder’s plans and thought he could help.
“I always do lighting displays set to music at my home, so I thought it was something I would like to help with,” Baim said. “Of course this is a little bigger scale, but I always thought it would be cool if we did this here.”
Baim, who Snyder describes as a Christmas lights expert, starts to string the 15,000 LED lights Sept. 15 each year.
“We get a boom truck and start to hang the lights on the trees and the upper roof then when it’s warmer,” Baim said. “It takes about three days to do that part.”
“I’m out there with about four other guys who help and we’re in our T-shirts and shorts and we do get some looks when we are doing it,” he added with a laugh. “When you add in the ground work to run the cords and do the arches and the tree at the flag pole the whole process takes about two weeks.”
Setting the lights to music is an entirely different process.
Cindy Snyder, Executive Administrator for Inter-State, said she and other family members suggest the holiday songs Baim uses for the light show.
“There is a group who gets together to choose the songs,” Cindy Snyder said. “About every two years we select some different pieces so George is developing a musical library for us to use.”
Each season, five songs play on a continual loop and visitors are asked to turn their vehicle’s radio to 98.3 while watching the performance to enhance the experience.
“It takes about 15 to 20 hours to program a three-minute song,” Baim said. “It’s a challenge, but I consider it a hobby.”
The Snyder’s grandchildren can be heard at the beginning of the performance wishing a Merry Christmas to visitors to the display.
“I think they are simply beautiful,” Ruth Mergen, of San Jose, California, said Thursday night while viewing the lights with her mother, Janet Moran. “I’m back home visiting mom and we wanted to look at the lights.
“We saw them from the road but mom said she knew they were the best ones that we could find,” Mergen added. “It is nice to be able to stop here and get away from the madness of shopping and watch them.”
Moran agreed with her daughter.
“They are lovely and it is peaceful being here watching them and listening to the Christmas music,” Moran said. “It has been a delightful evening.”
For the Snyder’s, establishing the family bonds and traditions are most important.
“We always turn the light on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving,” Aric Snyder said. “We are trying to create some excitement for David (Furnell) and the lightning ceremony downtown at the Hotel Bothwell.
“This community is blessed with a lot of good people,” he added. “We just want to do this as a way to say thank you for the blessing we have received.”
The lights at Inter-State are lit for viewing from 4:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. and from 4:30 to 11 p.m. daily until Jan. 2.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484