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Starbrick home all decked out for holidays

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton Michael Card has collected over 200 blow mold Christmas decorations that adorn his home, 121 Greene Ave. in Starbrick, and his parents house across the street. The lights are on each night but three - Dec. 11, Dec. 18 and Dec. 23 from 6 p.m, to 8 p.m. - the lights will come to life with costumed Christmas characters.

Sure, Michael Card has a fascination with vintage Christmas decorations, specifically blow molds.

You’d have to in order to travel out of state to add to the collection, which now exceeds 200.

But the collection isn’t just for him.

“It’s all for the kids,” he said, calling it “my way of giving back to the community.”

So his 121 Greene Ave. residence in Starbrick — and that of his parents across the street — is lit up this Christmas season.

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton

But three nights between now and Christmas, the display will come alive as Card and several family members will be dressing up as different Christmas characters — Santa and candy canes included — on Dec. 11, Dec. 18 and Dec. 23 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. each night.

Card called it “something just to put smiles on people’s faces and have a good time.”

Acquiring all of the decorations has taken four or five years.

“What really got me going the last couple years, between COVID (and) my grandfather passed away, it makes you think of what people are going (through),” he said.

Card said the first molds came from Jeff Bartsch, who has the most notable display in town on Central Ave.

“He’s been a mentor,” he said.

The pursuit of the molds — many of which date to the 1960s — has taken him to the other side of Cleveland, to Pittsburgh and out east to the Williamsport area. They pop up at garage sales from time to time, as well.

“I like the way they look,” he said. “(I’m) not really a fan of inflatables.”

Card moved across the street from his parents that brought the added challenge of splitting the collection, settling on what goes on each side of the street.

“(We) try to switch it up a little bit each year,” he said, and “try to add something people haven’t seen.”

Last year, that took the form of mounting Santa and a set of reindeer on his roof. This year, his uncle had a man lift so they put a star at the top, strung lights off of it and mounted another Santa Reindeer 50 feet in the air, high enough for motorists on US 6 to see.

In addition to being a mentor for him, Card explained Bartsch let him borrow some excess equipment. That means Card’s display now includes Christmas music via an FM radio station.

Card said his family always decorated the inside of their home and has “always been into the Christmas spirit. (I’m) still a child at heart when it comes to that.”

He gets help from family and the display starts to go up the day after Halloween and was completed by Thanksgiving.

“It’s definitely a stressful time, trying to learn tricks and things to do different,” he said. It includes many extension cords and three-way plugs.

“It can get to be a mess out there,” Card said, joking that people shouldn’t run through his lawn right now for fear of tripping.

And, yes, he’s already started thinking ahead to 2022.

“Maybe (I’ll) eventually try to make things blink. Baby steps right now.”

But one thing is clear — the work is worth it.

“(You) can see other parents and kids come and see the excitement on their face,” he said. “That’s what it’s about, what makes it worth it.”

And he’s hopeful the live element those three nights will enhance the experience all the more.

“It’s a good time. The more the merrier,” he said. “(We are) hoping to get a really good turnout.”

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