For 13 years, the home at 5306 Belardo Drive in Tierrasanta has delighted legions of children and adults with its elaborate holiday lights synchronized to music.
Belardo Lights is a labor of love by Randy Schimka, one of our employees and father of two sons with autism. The annual Christmas extravaganza was inspired by his first-born, Brandon, who became fascinated by holiday lights in 2005. The following year, Randy started his holiday light tradition.
Tonight is the last chance to catch this year’s Belardo Lights display. It will be on between 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
If you choose, you can also make a donation to Randy’s nonprofit fundraising partner, the Stein Education Center in Mission Valley, which serves children and adults with autism. The donations will support the center’s two-week long winter camp, as well as purchase of educational toys and therapeutic items for kids at Stein. This year, fans of Belardo Lights have donated about $12,000.
Labor of Love
It takes Randy and his son, Brandon, now 22 years old, months to plan the light display and weeks to put them up. Nine miles of wires are needed to power about 100,000 lights.
The display has grown bigger and more complex every year, with Brandon participating from start to finish. Brandon and Stephen (Randy’s younger son) were both diagnosed with autism at age 2.
“It’s something the community has really embraced,” Randy told CBS 8. “It makes you feel good about the holidays. I think we will do it a little while longer.”
Both KUSI and CBS 8 recently featured Belardo Lights. Click on this link to see the KUSI segment, and this link to see the CBS 8 segment. Belardo Lights also has its own website, where you can learn more about the magic behind the display.