Final year of Bob's World display in Pleasanton | News | |


Final year of Bob's World display in Pleasanton

'Santa Bob' Stanley getting ready for one last elaborate display after 30+ years

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This will mark the final year of the Bob's World holiday display on Calle Reynoso. It runs Dec. 13-30. (Photo by John Futterman)

All good things must come to an end -- and this will be the last year for Bob Stanley's holiday lights extravaganza in Pleasanton. Dubbed Bob's World, it has delighted area residents each holiday season for more than 30 years.

Stanley paused in this year's preparations last Saturday to verify that, yes, he was assembling the display for the last time.

"It's time to step back and enjoy the holidays myself," he said. "I'm trying to get it ready."

Many people volunteer to help, he noted, but he prefers to go solo, explaining with a laugh: "I never know what I'm doing."

First he wires the front yard, which takes three days, then he moves on from there. The entire setup takes about three months and will be ready for the public Dec. 13.

"It's just time," agreed his wife Cathy. "He's 73 years old and should not be on a roof."

Bob's World has been drawing an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 visitors, who fill the surrounding streets with their cars as droves of people park and walk to enjoy the display each year. Each part is animated and lights up, plus every child who visits Bob's World is treated to a candy cane or small toy.

But the visitors aren't all children. Numerous East Bay senior homes create a special holiday excursion for their residents, as well as groups celebrating birthday parties, and limousines full of holiday revelers.

The Stanleys, who have two sons and one granddaughter, say their interest in holiday lights began many years ago when one of their sons put a string of holiday lights in his room. That expanded throughout the interior of the house until it glowed with 5,000 holiday lights.

"It was time to move it outside," Bob said.

The outdoor display grew and grew -- and grew. The Stanleys don't know how many lights there are but expect that it is in the thousands. Also a secret is how the display impacts their utility bill in December. Although he won't share the amount, Bob did say that the new LED lights are more cost-effective than those used in years past.

Stanley, who is retired from the commercial furnishings business, says he learned by trial and error in designing and installing the displays. In the early days, they were constructed of wood, which didn't withstand heavy winds and rain. Today's displays have wire frames.

The Stanleys will announce the sale of their Bob's World displays on the website known as California Christmas Lights ( operated by Alex Dourov, which tells folks where to find the homes with the best holiday decorations.

Stanley is known as Santa Bob by the neighborhood kids -- indeed there is a resemblance -- and both he and Cathy have wonderful memories from their decades of hosting Bob's World. Cathy recalled when a young soldier in uniform who had just returned from the Middle East knocked on the door with his young brother, hoping to get a photo with Santa Bob to give to their mom for Christmas.

Put Bob's World on your calendar and enjoy its final year at 2612 Calle Reynoso. Starting Dec. 13, the display will be lit from 6-9 p.m. each Sunday through Thursday, and from 6-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays before the lights dim for good at 10 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 30.

After this, Stanley looks forward to traveling during the last quarter of the year in the future.

"We love Christmas, and we've both enjoyed the opportunity to share the excitement of the season with our friends and neighbors," he said.

We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?


20 people like this
Posted by Harold Fam
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 4, 2018 at 10:10 am

Dear Bob, Cathy and family, THANK YOU for generously delighting my family and guests every Christmas since we moved to town over 15 years ago. You’ve have been a part of our holiday tradition for so many years. We’ll miss you terribly, but we are very happy for you! Merry Christmas!!!

6 people like this
Posted by Carolyn
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 4, 2018 at 10:10 am

Dear Bob and family, I want to thank you for the many years of enjoyment you have given my children, grandchildren and our many visitors to Ptown with your Christmas displays and generosity. Enjoy your retirement, you deserve it!

8 people like this
Posted by Christina Maehr
a resident of Valley Trails
on Dec 4, 2018 at 10:38 am

We love you Bob and Cathy! Thank you for the years of joy you have brought to my children and family. I particularly remember one year when my daughter was sick and couldn't do much, but we still could drive over to see your lights. It rekindled that feeling of Christmas. Always special. THANK YOU!

5 people like this
Posted by Kasper Family
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 4, 2018 at 11:15 am

Very sad news but understandable.
Thanks Bob and Cathy for years of Christmas Cheer!

6 people like this
Posted by Ruth & Jim Art
a resident of Danbury Park
on Dec 4, 2018 at 12:07 pm

While my heart is broken by the thought of not seeing Bob's World next year, I rejoice in your coming freedom and commend you for doing this while you are young enough to enjoy the free time with your family and travel plans.

We used to bring my mother-in-law, Bernice, to see Bob's World every year and she just loved it so much. She is now retired from this life and exploring the lighting in the afterworld.

Thank you so much for all the wonder and pleasure that you have brought to so many. You will be missed. I wish you great joy in your travels.

4 people like this
Posted by Doug
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 4, 2018 at 10:49 pm

I remember taking our 2 year old daughter to see Bob's World for the first time. Her eyes were as big as saucers when she saw all of the brilliant Christmas light displays and heard the wonderful Christmas music. It was an amazing experience for her. It was cold, so we kept asking her if she wanted to go home but she just kept on staring at the displays and saying "Just a another minute.....Just another minute.....Just another minute". We'll be sure to make one more last trip over to Bob's World this Christmas.

7 people like this
Posted by Christina Nystrom
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Dec 5, 2018 at 10:49 am

THANK YOU SO MUCH for the countless hours and dedication you have put into making lifelong memories for my kids and I. We LOVE seeing your display every year - it is part of our Christmas Eve tradition. We will miss you, but are greatly appreciative for the way that you have given back to our community. Many, many thanks!

2 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 5, 2018 at 11:28 am

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

This has been an absolute treasure to our family, before and after kids. Thank you for this selfless act that has contributed to Pleasanton and the Meadows as such a wonderful place to live. Really really grateful for the memories.

I would encourage the community to reach out beyond this forum to say thank you to the family - we haven't decided (our family) what the "right" way for us to say thank you is, but we wanted to personalize our thanks for the family in some way.

Like this comment
Posted by Krishna
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 5, 2018 at 11:42 am

Hi Cathy & Bob,
Greetings. We know all good things comes to an end. However we will surely miss seeing the lights and enjoying a nice walk in your place. From the time we moved to Pleasanton we had been seeing the Halloween and Christmas lights in your place. We missed Halloween till now and starting next year we will be missing the Christmas lights also. We all pray for you and your family as you step into the next phase of your life.

Happy Holiday Season.
Friendly Neighbors

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