Cuneo’s Holiday Light Show no Longer Running


Photo courtesy of Flickr

The holiday light show consisted of hundreds of light up displays ranging in a wide variety of sizes

Demi Glusic, Staff Writer

This winter season will mark the first year the iconic twinkling holiday light show will not be set up at the Cuneo Estate, as it has officially been discontinued.

The holiday light show was annually held during the month of December on the Cuneo Mansion property in Vernon Hills, which allowed people to tour the 100-acre property while driving down a road surrounded by giant synchronized light displays, since the first year of this tradition in 1994.

In 2009, Loyola University bought the land at the Cuneo where the light show was held and started to develop a portion of the property. From 2009 until 2014, Loyola agreed to allow the light show to continue while splitting the profits with the village of Vernon Hills. According to the Chicago Tribune, now “the final 52 acres are about to become a residential subdivision.” This change will consequently put an end to the holiday display.

Annually, the light show included over several hundred displays, including both light-up displays and wood cutouts. The lights and wood cutouts ranged in both size and theme. Annually, the light show displays would include the 12 days of Christmas, Disney and other movie characters, Santa’s workshop, and other festive elements,  such as a rocking horse and gorillas that hung in the trees.

While the light show was held in a rather small suburb, the location did not stop light enthusiasts from taking a drive though. The Daily Herald reported that in 2013, “about 22,000 cars passed through the wooded pathway of holiday lights and displays.”

To amp up the experience, the light show paired up with a local radio station to give a unique audio-visual experience. Tunes from the radio station were synced up to some of the light displays and played classic holiday songs to make the drive more interactive and enjoyable.

Yet now, with the show being discontinued, the light displays are in the process of finding new homes.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Vernon Hills trustees “authorized Village Manager John Kalmar to give away [the] 185 displays that do not have built-in lights.”

Kalmar said that when the first news of 2014 being the last year for the light show broke out, emails and calls were put in to people interested in taking the light displays off of their hands. Some of the interested groups included Lambs Farm, the Lake County Fairgrounds, the Cook County Forest Preserve, and many others.

The trouble for Kalmar is finding appropriate places for the light displays. Many of the displays are so large that they are not safe to put by roads. Others have many power cords, wires, and metal pieces that can easily be disassembled, making these displays a hazard to place where pedestrians are bound to walk past them. Kalmar also mentioned that many of the displays are meant only to be seen at night, while they are not pleasing to the eye to see during the daytime. “Those displays should probably be bought by another light show and not put anywhere too public,” Kalmar commented to the Tribune.

The fate for the remaining displays will be decided over the next few months, depending on buyer interest and possible available locations. The village of Vernon Hills has already agreed to take a few of the smaller more portable displays, which may be visible this holiday season. These include small snowflakes that will be hung on lamp posts and the jumping reindeer display that has already been set up on the corner of Route 60 and Milwaukee Ave.

The news of the discontinued light show has hit the feelings of people, both young and old. “Loyola needs to get their stuff together” said LHS sophomore Christina Simley, voicing her opinion. “Honestly, they’ve been having [the light show] every year for a long time, so why stop the tradition?’