People and Places with Pierce: The Hoggard Family Christmas Lights

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WINDSOR, N.C. (WNCT) – As the dog days of summer transition to the cooler days of fall, the Hoggard Brothers of Windsor spring into action.

“We’re triplets: Herman, Therman, and Sherman,” said Therman Hoggard.

If you can’t quite remember who’s who,

“Most people call us by the Christmas light men,” added Therman. “When everything is lit completely up, it’s over a half a million lights.”

5 electric meters and miles of cords and wires power one of the largest Christmas light displays in the East.

“Everybody in this area knows about Hoggard’s Christmas,” added Sherman Hoggard.

“You can see it I know from miles away,” said Herman Hoggard.

“It’s a lot more than what everybody expects, and they really enjoy it,” said Sherman.

Every year, like clockwork, with the flip of a switch, the Hoggard family Christmas light display comes to life. It’s a year round labor of love, one the family does for one specific reason.

“It really got started in 1991,” said Therman. “My oldest daughter, Carolyn, was involved in an accident. She skipped school one day and never came home. In 2000, I built the angel and my other two daughters, Jennifer and Nicky, and my wife, we all sat down and built little pieces of Christmas and that’s how we got started.”

Christmas was Carolyn’s favorite holiday.

“We never forget her,” said Therman. “It’s a big relief for me. It gives me something to do. It keeps your mind off a lot of it even though it’s been quite a few years since my daughter passed away. It’s a therapy.”

But perhaps the biggest gift of all is being an inspiration to others.

“On the worst of days, we’ve had people come in here and tell us that I was so down today, but just coming in and seeing the glory that y’all give us with the glow of all the lights, it picks my spirit up,” said Herman.

The brothers are getting older now, and with age comes the uncertainty of what lies ahead.

“I’m sure that I could depend on her that she would probably carry this on, but it would have been a big job for her,” said Therman. “She would have loved it. She helps keep us healthy enough to do it.”

“I’m hoping at least a couple more years before we call it quits because we know that once we stop, the tradition will stop,” said Herman.

Shortly before she passed, Carolyn wrote a poem which states in part: Now I know we must lead our lives apart, while keeping fond memories close to the heart. Remember me always with smiles and gladness. Regret not our meeting with tears and sadness. Forget me not.

The glow of the lights shines brightly up to the heavens. Carolyn’s spirit shines back just as bright.

The Hoggard Christmas light display is located at 101 Dalton Drive in Windsor and is open nightly Black Friday through New Year’s Day. The Hoggard’s do accept donations to help offset the cost of powering and maintaining the lights each holiday season.