Ten years ago, Jason Karge found himself immersed in a YouTube video that showcased a magical setting, coordinated blinking lights to the sound of Christmas music. It was a scene that stuck in his mind and he immediately added the light show to his bucket list, promising himself that he would one day put on his own show.
In February 2020, Karge officially started on his light show journey. He began watching videos and gathering circuit boards and components, most of which had to be shipped from far away. He even took an online class from a professional light show builder, where he learned how to build the sequences, and match the music to the timing of the blinking lights.
Fast forward to August 2020, when Karge took six days off from his job as a finance controller, and spent ten, 12-hour days wiring and building the set of his dream light show. He made the necessary boxes, the one main controller board and eight expansion boards.
“It involves a lot of programming. After I import the song tracks, I learn the timing and pick what colors and direction the lights should blink, based on the rhythm of the song.”
His light show dream became a reality, when he launched it for all to see on Black Friday. Every night until New Year’s Eve, the 40-minute show runs from 5:30pm until 9:00pm, at his home on 101 Sunnyside Ave. When his wife, and a few other residents suggested that he turn the show into a fundraiser to help others, Karge instantly knew that he wanted to focus on veterans at the local level and he made a GoFundMe page for the Winthrop Veterans Food Pantry. Viewers of the show, neighbors, and colleagues have stepped up to donate to the cause and he’s already raised $1500.
The Veteran’s Food Pantry is near and dear to Karge’s heart because he is a veteran himself, having served in the Army from 1998-2004.
“I still live by the Army values and I believe that veterans have to help other veterans,” he said.
Originally from Houston, Texas, Karge, his wife and four children have been living in Winthrop for nine years.
“Jason, like so many others, have really come forward to help the Veteran community this year,” said Rose Mazzuchelli, Winthrop Veteran Services Officer. “We are truly blessed to have Jason and his awesome light and music display to bring Holiday cheer and the magic of Christmas to all of us. About 75 Winthrop Veterans and families will receive these donations.”
As far has his light show goes, Karge said that he is learning as he goes, but his favorite part about it is when he sees kids dancing on the sidewalks by the blinking candy canes and to the sounds of the synchronized show. While viewers can tune in to 91.3 on their car radios to listen to the show from inside their vehicles, he likes to put the speakers out on Friday nights so people can get out of their cars and have a different experience.
To donate to the Winthrop Veterans Food Pantry, please go to GoFundMe and search for Sunnyside Light Show-Winthrop Food Bank.
The daily show is at 101 Sunnyside Ave, from 5:30-9 p.m.