Carolina Christmas On-Site Coordinator Randall Barger Makes Christmas Come Alive at Home and Work
"Relaxation" isn't a word in Randall Barger's vocabulary during the holiday season. Not only does he give the citizens of Faith, N.C., a light show to remember at his remodeled 19th century home, but Barger, visual display manager at Miller Davis Agency in Salisbury, N.C., is also taking on the task of making history at Charlotte Motor Speedway with the opening of Carolina Christmas.
Barger is currently serving as on-site coordinator for Carolina Christmas, the spectacular 2.5-mile drive-through Christmas light park and village featuring more than a million LED, or light emitting diode, lights.
According to Barger his responsibilities include "staying on top of what goes in, gets put up and what goes where" for the massive holiday light display. It seems that there couldn't be a better man for the job.
"I just really enjoy people enjoying Christmas," said Barger. "I knew as a little child that I enjoyed my parents taking me around to see the lights and of course that was before people did a whole lot of decorating."
It will take Barger and his team of 10 men approximately 20 days and more than 160 hours to set-up the lights and displays for Carolina Christmas. Though quite an undertaking, Barger is a former restaurant owner, little league coach, Rowan County Fourth of July Celebration chairman and a former church councilman, so he knows how to get the most out of a 24-hour day. However, it's through his involvement in the Rowan County Youth Football League that he was able to re-connect with Mike Miller, president and founder of Miller Davis Agency, the company responsible for the set-up and operation of Carolina Christmas.
"I actually coached Mike and I've known his family all my life," said Barger. "He called me one day and wanted to know if I would be interested in coming to work for him. The rest is history."
After reconnecting, Barger and Miller spent 12 years trying to make a holiday light park a reality in various locations throughout North Carolina. In January 2009, conversations starting taking place between Miller Davis, officials with Charlotte Motor Speedway and Christmas lighting company Winterland Inc., one of the largest holiday light display designers in the country, to put together a grand-scale holiday light park and village at the track.
Just as hundreds of light displays are currently going up at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Carolina Christmas, decorations are also going up all over the Barger house. His home holiday display, which he started doing 17 years ago, began as just a few decorations in the driveway and has increased every year since. Barger's home now features 35 light displays, which come alive the day after Thanksgiving. The decorations include traditional light displays like tin soldiers, sleds and reindeer, and some more unique displays such as Santa hitting a golf ball and Rudolph in a boat pulling Santa on skis.
"I mostly do that on my own," said Barger. "My brother helps with the larger displays and my wife helps a bit as well, but it's mostly a one-man project because I'm the one that knows where things go and how the decorations and lights should be."
While Charlotte Motor Speedway expects more than 60,000 cars to visit Carolina Christmas during the 42-night run of the event, Barger expects an average of 100 cars to visit his home light show each night.
Barger says that while his display show is definitely a source of pride, between the two light shows there is no comparison, except for the joy and Christmas spirit that they both will bring to all the guests.
Carolina Christmas will be one of the largest holiday light shows in the United States, featuring nearly 500 different LED, or light emitting diode, light displays, a live Nativity scene in a realistic Bethlehem-themed village, carriage rides, a marshmallow roasting pit, a festival of trees and photos with Santa.
Operating hours for Carolina Christmas will be 6 to 10 p.m., Nov. 22 through Jan. 2, 2011. Tickets are available online at www.visitcarolinachristmas.com or at the gate nightly during event hours for drive-up traffic. Admission is just $20 per passenger vehicle, with group and motorcoach packages available. Families may also take advantage of The Speedway Club's Holiday Dinners and Carolina Christmas packages, which includes a speedway-provided ride through the Carolina Christmas display.
Individual meals start at just $20 and family-style meals are also available. For more information, call 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
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