The show runs nightly through Jan. 5, 2014 and is free to the public. Show times are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, weather permitting.
Visitors are asked to make a monetary donation to FIND Food Bank, Michael Simmons says. A donation of $1 provides seven meals for the hungry people of the Coachella Valley.
On Saturday Dec. 21, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Santa Claus will make his special annual appearance at the Simmons home. Visitors will have an opportunity to meet and get their picture taken with him. Free hot chocolate and snacks will be served.
The synchronized Christmas lights show is made up of more than 200,000 eco-friendly LED lights and special effects along with 3,500 computer-controlled lighting/animation channels and eight miles of cabling, Simmons says.
Here's more from organizers:
Highlights include a 24-foot mega tree, leaping light arches, shooting stars, dozens of strobe lights, and much more – all synchronized to a play list of holiday music hits broadcasted by a short-range FM radio transmitter on 107.5 FM called the "The Icicle."
The Simmons family was chosen this year by ABC and FremantleMedia to be one of 20 families being featured on "The Great Christmas Light Fight" competing for part of $250,000 in prizing ($50,000 won each episode). It's the first reality Christmas lights competition of its kind on network TV which premieres on Monday, December 9th, 2013 9-10 pm ET/PT. ABC chose the Simmons family after an extensive nationwide search, based on previous elaborate Christmas light displays, incredible choreography, and over-the-top designs.
"We are competing against the best displays and decorators in the nation again. We are absolutely thrilled to be part of the ABC show and prove again that Cathedral City, CA is home to one of the best and largest private residential Christmas light shows of its kind in America," says lights show creator, Michael A. Simmons.
"Having ABC shoot here in our city is great exposure for our community and we are very pleased to have the Simmons family representing us on national TV," says Cathedral City Mayor Kathy DeRosa.
The show's judges are Michael Moloney & Sabrina Soto, both from "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
To make it all happen, the Simmons family has been very hard at work. One of the stipulations for being part of the ABC show is that all of the families had only 21 days to setup. It usually takes the Simmons family more than three months.
"Even though we had 21 days to complete the setup, we did it in 19 days and also added 50,000 more LED lights at the last minute. All thanks to the hard work and dedication of this year’s setup team," says family friend and setup supervisor, Luis Lua.
"Our annual Christmas lights show is the most important thing we do all year, and the hard work we put in is made worth it by the absolute joy we see every night on the faces of visitors young and old alike," says Simmons. "When the show first debuted in 2007, it was the Coachella Valley's first and largest show of its kind, and in 2010, it was named 'Best Christmas Lights Display in America' by The Early Show on CBS. I am proud to say that one of the country's largest private residential shows of its kind is located right here in the Coachella Valley!"
The show has raised tens of thousands of dollars for local charities serving the Coachella Valley, and in 2010, the Simmons family established its own fundraising program called "Shine the Light on Hunger." The program has provided hundreds of thousands of meals to the Coachella Valley’s hungry people through its fundraising efforts for FIND Food Bank.
"Participating in the ABC show allowed us and FIND to educate America about food insecurity. It's not just a problem in our local community, it's worldwide," says Yermolai Simmons.
FIND Food Bank provides food to more than 100 local non-profit agencies, and on average, feeds more than 80,000 hungry people each month in the Coachella Valley.
"Of that incredibly large number, 15% are seniors, 46% are children, 7% are homeless, and 32% are the working poor," says Lisa Houston, CEO of FIND Food Bank.
For more info about Simmons family's Dancing Christmas Lights Show, visit www.MyDesertLights.com. To reach Michael A. Simmons, email firstname.lastname@example.org.