By Adler Karle
For Capital Region Independent Media
If you drive through Greenville during the holiday season, it is hard to miss the cheery display of Christmas lights at the Westerner.
Don Irving, owner of the Westerner, began this festive tradition in 2011, just decorating his business with a few lights and some other seasonal decorations. The original modest display quickly grew larger and larger as people started to notice the lights and complimented them from year to year. It spread to the properties around the store as he purchased them.
“I was inspired by my grandmother Jennie and her Christmas decorations,” said Irving, noting how much he loved Christmas as a child. His desire was to “bring something to the party, make people happy and brighten up the town.”
He loves the cheer in the holiday season and all that happiness around it, he said.
“I just try to make it happy and bright and cheerful,” Irving said.
These decorations are a real labor of love for Irving, who starts the decorating Oct. 1.
“It takes about four weeks putting up the lights and my favorite decorations of antique toboggans and sleds with some festive wreaths,” he said.
What he is most proud of, though, is his “old-fashioned, soft colored lights.” Irving points out that none of his lights are modern LED.
Irving tries to have a theme every year with his lights. This year’s theme is color, with the Westerner wanting color everywhere and everything being lit up. In the past, Irving has had a “White Christmas” that was mostly white Christmas lights. Another year he had a “Crochet Christmas,” with crocheted figures in the windows.
A challenge Irving faces every year is trying to power the display. “It’s quite the game to figure out how to not exceed the limits of our breakers in the electrical box,” he said.
Irving’s light display garners a great deal of attention and attracts families from as far as Saratoga to see the lights.
“My daughter and I are excited to see the light display every year,” said Westerlo resident Kim Wheeler.
Jullianne Baumann, of Greenville, appreciates Irving’s efforts with his light display every year.
“The Westerner always puts a lot of attention to detail, and they are very well done every year,” she said.
Irving sees this labor of love as a jolly contribution to the town.
“I want to make people happy in maybe a not-so-happy time and make people’s day a little better,” he said.