Deacon Dave offers a festival of lights, for the 30th year
Casa del Pomba in Livermore draws tens of thousands of guests
The biggest and one of the best holiday displays in the Tri-Valley is now open with festivities starting on the front yard of Deacon Dave Rezendes' home, Casa del Pomba, at 352 Hillcrest Ave. in Livermore.
The holiday display is visited by tens of thousands of guests each year. It's special this year because Deacon Dave is also celebrating the 30th anniversary of his ordination as a deacon in the Catholic Church.
The theme each year changes, and is always kept a secret until opening night ceremonies. This year the theme is "Elfland."
Last Friday night, the home and yard were dark as a candlelight procession made its way down the blocked off street for this year's opening ceremony. Members of the community joined the procession, which featured the St. Michael's Catholic School choir leading Deacon Dave and Santa and Mrs. Claus to the home.
The Trinity Church choir also performed along with a blessing of the lights when the lights were turned on. At that time, guests were invited to walk through the yard.
Members of the nonprofit group Good News Bears helped Deacon Dave celebrate his special night by serving refreshments. Visitors brought new stuffed animals or made cash donations to help them meet the ever-increasing need for "stuffed love" at shelters, hospitals and emergency services.
More than 35 volunteers from many faiths work throughout the year to put on the display. Many of them are on hand at the display to share the spirit of the holidays and answer questions. Just look for anyone wearing a red "Casa del Pomba" ball cap or jacket.
Santa loves to visit, and makes time in his busy schedule to stop by often during the season. He loves to visit the gorgeous display, so he often drops in unannounced. Mrs. Claus loves the beautiful lights and story that is told every year, too, so she often joins Santa.
Deacon Dave will have his yard open now until Jan. 1. The hours are 6-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; and from 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The gates may be closed during inclement weather, although every effort is made to leave the lights glowing.
There is no admission charge. All the donations collected in the coin toss, ponds and at the door are used for Santa's Secret Service. This program has provided a visiting Santa, carolers and gifts to area nursing homes, shelters and hospitals for over 50 years.
Visit www.casadelpomba.com for more information on the display, Santa's Secret Service, and Deacon Dave's family history.
Deacon Dave's Christmas Safety Tips
* When using a ladder, make sure it is balanced and steady. For tall ladders have someone hold the bottom portion.
* Place candles in sturdy non-combustible containers. Keep them away from Christmas trees, decorations and wrapped packages, and away from animals and birds as they could accidentally knock the candle over. Be sure candles are out before leaving the house or at bedtime.
* When setting up a fresh green Christmas tree make certain that the tree holder can hold water; refill the water frequently so the tree does not dry out excessively.
* Christmas trees should never, ever block exits.
* Christmas trees must be kept three to four feet away from fireplaces or any type of heating unit.
* Examine electrical cords before plugging them in for your Christmas decorations. Any that are cracked, frayed, have bare wires, cracked sockets or loose connections, immediately toss in the garbage.
* Don't overload your electrical circuits. If you blow the power it usually means that you are overloading your household electrical circuits. Redistribute your electrical cords to other outlets. It could also mean that you have plugged in a defective electrical decoration.
* Don't overload extension cords or socket.
* Don't connect more than three strings of lights. For larger screw-in bulbs, connect no more than 50 bulbs.
* Check your light cords each year for safety. Some light strings have a fuse located in one end. If the lights do not work, check the fuse. Fuses are replaceable.
* Christmas tree electrical cords should not pose a trip-and-fall hazard.
* Your Christmas tree or Menorah candle does not need to be illuminated all night. Make sure you turn off all lights and decorations before leaving the house or going to bed.