• 43°

Rudd’s display will end with ’99

The Associated Press

Blue Creek – It’s the last time that Judy and Carl Rudd will display their 1 million Christmas lights and figurines on the 40-acre farm they call home.

Monday, November 29, 1999

Blue Creek – It’s the last time that Judy and Carl Rudd will display their 1 million Christmas lights and figurines on the 40-acre farm they call home. Age is catching up to them and making it hard to continue operating the southern Ohio farm. They plan to sell it next year. They raised 10 children on the farm, and feel bad about parting with it.

”I’d rather take a beating than do it,” said Carl Rudd, 70. ”But I’ve got Alzheimer’s, and I can’t remember everything. And my wife’s health isn’t good either.”

”We just aren’t able to do it anymore. We work hard all the time; we’re out there every day,” his wife said.

The Rudds’ holiday display started as some simple home decorating in Dayton, Ohio, 36 years ago. Then they moved to this Adams County community 30 years ago and expanded over an entire 40 acres.

”We just started decorating, first in the house, then in the yard, then all over,” said Mrs. Rudd, 56. ”People just seemed to enjoy it.”

Today, there are more than 1 million Christmas lights tracing walk-through paths over 40 acres of hillside and through a dozen or so scenes of the Nativity and the life of Christ. There also are angel figurines, some of which are 10 feet tall.

The one year they counted, the Rudds found that more than 200,000 people found their way to the tiny hamlet of Blue Creek – 70 miles east of Cincinnati – to visit the display.

The exhibit is up and open all year without admission charge, although the biggest crowds come at Christmas.

Rudd, a retired General Motors Corp. worker, installed the lighting system and added to it over the years.

The Rudds won’t say how much the electricity to power the lights costs them. They pay for the electricity and the decorating and upkeep costs.

Rudd said he got the idea from his boyhood in Kentucky, during the Depression years ”when on many a night we had hardly anything to eat. But the Lord provided. And I never forgot those years, when many a night I would look up and say: ‘Lord, if I ever get the opportunity to tell the world about You, I will.’ And I said, ‘Lord, it will always be as free as the air we breathe.”’