Franklin Street Christmas display good to glow

By Andy Matarrese, Columbian Breaking News Reporter



David Rothgeb was walking his dog, Nelly, with his grandsons when they stopped to check out the multi-home Christmas light display on Northwest Franklin Street.

“This year, they’ve gone all out here,” he said.

Rothgeb, with 3-year-old Sam and 11-year-old Sebastian, stopped by at around 5 p.m.

He spotted Winnie the Pooh and friends, Elsa and Anna from “Frozen” along with Santa Claus and his reindeer on the centerpiece property, and that was just on a first glance.

“This covers the gamut,” Rothgeb said.

Jim Mains, one of the homeowners, told The Columbian the block has been putting on a display for four years.

This year’s setup includes six properties around the 4600 block of Franklin Street, on the west side of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, and has more than 25,000 lights, Mains said.

There’s also Santa’s sleigh and eight life-size reindeer, life-size Santa with Rudolph on the roof, a full nativity scene with Christmas message, the Grinch in an old pickup truck, Frosty the Snowman and caroling penguins.

The carloads of Christmas-light viewers were just starting to trickle past the houses as Trish Lambert and her family stopped by.

“We’re surprised there aren’t more people here,” she said. “Maybe it’s more after dinner, or something.”

Lambert took the train down from Seattle with her two children, 9-year-old Jackson and 7-year-old Lucy, to visit her parents.

“But this is fun because there’s nobody here,” said her mother, Joan Cavanaugh.

Cavanaugh and her husband live by Fort Vancouver, and the rules preclude them from having lights.

Bill Cavanaugh, Lambert’s father, joked they can decorate their house vicariously by visiting local neighborhood displays.

“This is our first time and I’m really surprised. I’m blown away. It’s really pretty,” Joan Cavanaugh said, adding you find more details the longer you look.

The main house has music, and in an upstairs window, a screen shows Santa Claus appearing and waving to onlookers. He’ll be there until Christmas, Mains said.

There’s also a snow feature. Snow falls on the display 7 p.m. Dec. 22 and 23, on Christmas Eve each hour on the hour from 4 p.m. to midnight, and Christmas Day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Mains said the organizers have put together a canned food drop-off to go with the display, in honor of the late Scott Campbell, a community leader and, he said, “lover of all things Christmas.”

Onlookers are invited to drop off nonperishable items in the pink bin out front until Christmas.

The food goes to local food banks.

Learn more about the display at its Facebook page, Holidays on Franklin Street.