Say it isn’t so.
The free neighborhood Christmas display and music show — Lights On Sunset — will turn off for good after this year.
For 17 years, John and Jena Libecki, along with their neighbors, Sean and Michelle Ryan, have put on a free Christmas light show across their homes on Sunset Drive near Solano Court during the winter holiday season.
It’s an elaborate performance that features lights synchronized with music and aired over the short-distance FM radio waves on 107.7.
From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on most nights, the attraction draws a steady stream of passersby, and cars vying for a coveted spot in front of the homes on a somewhat narrow residential street.
Describing how Lights on Sunset came about, Jena Libecki previously told the Times, “There was a TV commercial on Thanksgiving Day the year before we started. It was a beer commercial, and the lights would go back and forth on the house and it said, ‘Happy Holidays’. My husband and his brother announced, ‘We’re going to do that.’
“We all bought a bunch of stuff, and started doing the light show, and we continued it.
“We bought controllers so my computer program could make the lights come on and off with the beat.
“My husband, John, is a self-taught computer programmer, and one of our sons is knowledgeable in troubleshooting.”
The family teamwork paid off, and Lights On Sunset became the most popular Merced neighborhood attraction every winter.
This year, Merced Mayor Matthew Serratto honored the families with an official city recognition for their hard work and creativity.
“Thank you for illuminating our city with the cheer of the holiday season,” he said during a ceremony with residents in front of the display. “It makes our community so much better, so much brighter.”
If you haven’t seen it yet, you might still want to try and visit the neighborhood. Lights On Sunset is expected to go on through New Year’s Eve.