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New Year brings light show to a close Allison K. Sampite | Sat, Jan 01 2011 12:00 PM


This year marks the seventh year Bonita resident Ron Komendera has displayed his musical- Christmas light show.

Running until tonight, New Year's Eve, Komendera one-ups himself each year making it bigger and brighter.

At 74, Komendera is a retired insurance broker and said boredom got him started on creating the festival of lights to give him something to do.

"The reason I got interested in putting on the light show was because I'm home from the golf course at 9 a.m. or earlier every day and I always have to have a project going," he said.

Each year on the first night of the show, Komendera has a street party and puts out goodies for passersby who are welcome to donate any amount to benefit Rady's Children Hospital.

This year the light show began Dec. 5.

"Whatever is in the bucket at the end of the day, I take it to the bank, put it in a special savings account and on New Year's Day I close the account and issue a check to the hospital a few days later," Komendera said.

Last year he raised more than $1,400 and hopes to double it this year.

Komendera said over the years there have been lots of technical problems.

"However this year when I got it all set up I hit the switch the first time and everything was perfect," he said.

Bonita resident Eddie Suarez, 17, came to look at the lightshow with his uncle.

"I'm surprised that they planned this-the way that they choreographed the music with the lights-it's really nice," he said.

In 2004, Komendera started with 5,000 lights and no music. He said his first year was the one with the most glitches.

"There's a lot of trial and error," he said. This year, Komendera had 30,000 lights with nine light shows choreographed to 48 songs, including two giant Christmas trees, a star-studded roof, leaping arches, strobes and lasers.

Some 2,000 people pass through the light show each year.

Choko Mendis, 85, has lived next to Komendera for 34 years. "It's fantastic," she said. "Every year we never know what he's going to do."

Komendera uses as many LED rope lights as he can since LEDs burn about 90 percent less electricity and are significantly more energy efficient.

In the last 7 years Komendera has spent $20,000. "I do it mainly to give back to the community, he said. "I've had a pretty good life, it's my way of giving back and I get a big kick out watching people's reactions to the display."


See related video by clicking here: Light show

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