WEST FRANKFORT — Work has begun on Candy Cane Lane, the most festive street in West Frankfort.
Organizer and chief elf of the event, Tim Murphy, said he’s been steady at work since Oct. 3 on his annual Christmas display. At this point he said he is about 20 percent of the way there. He said there is something about this year that seems momentous.
“I don’t know why, it seems like it’s going to be a big year,” he said, adding that he has made 21 new wooden characters for his display — he said Trolls and Paw Patrol are some standouts — and he is excited about a new white castle and light display. The lights, he said, are likely what he is most excited about.
There could be another reason it seems like a big year, though — while attending a Christmas expo in Nashville, Tennessee, Murphy had a heart attack. He said he was there to replenish his holiday spirit and came back needing a heart stent and a new lease on life.
“You never know what can happen,” he said. “I think that’s one of the reasons I want to go all out.”
Murphy said he is also hoping to see more neighborhood participation this year. He said in years past some streets do better than others when it comes to decorating for the Christmas holiday.
With all the new items being added, Murphy said it’s been a bit more work than normal.
“It’s been almost an all-summer project for me,” he said, adding that he usually doesn’t get started until October.
With plans to be open to the public Nov. 29, Murphy said it’s starting to be an all-hands-on-deck operation. He said what takes most of the time in setting up is the structural work — making sure things won’t blow over and have safe, reliable power. It can take five days to lay electric cable alone, he said.
Getting his characters set up is the easy part.
A former art teacher in West Frankfort, Murphy said Candy Cane Lane is now his outlet. He said it “gives me my passion back.”
“It’s good for me,” he said.
He knows it is a lot of work, even admitting that he sometimes thinks he’s “created a monster.” That said, he loves what he does.
“If I didn’t, I wouldn’t do it,” Murphy said.
This post has been updated to correct the spelling of stent.