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Paradise Lane Christmas Lights a labour of love

Paradise Lane Christmas Markets
Cameron Kapernick with the original lights used in his very first Christmas lights display 25 years ago.

The Paradise Lane Christmas Lights display features 50 Christmas trees and 10,000 lights and is a labour of love for Cameron Kapernick who started the tradition 25 years ago.

Cameron was just eight years old when he coordinated his first display at the Branyan property, still owned by his mum and dad, Rhonda and David.

Back then the display featured just three sets of lights and four Christmas trees.

But the collection has grown alongside the now 33-year-old Cameron’s love for all things Christmas.

“It’s just been one of those things that has always been part of our Christmas there,” Cameron said.

“I’ve been obsessed with lights for a long time.

“I don’t know it’s always been part of my DNA I guess.

“I think it’s just been something that has lived in me forever.”

Each year young Cameron would enter the local Christmas lights competition and his parents have proudly hung on to every newspaper clipping that mentioned his efforts.

For his first display, Cameron received an encouragement award. That year he crafted many decorations from cardboard.

As the years progressed so too did the quality of his display until, at age 16, he took out his first Christmas lights competition and made it to the front page of the paper.

Although he no longer resides in the region, Cameron returns as often as he can to decorate his family home which “is just made for Christmas lights”.

“They kindly let me take it over for four weeks of the year.”

The obsession was first sparked by regular Christmas visits to Bob and Cheryl Pearce’s Rosedale Road display.

“Their Christmas lights are famous,” Cameron said.

“I was a kid and I used to run around their lights telling them where their lights were blown and what was new.

“And I’d ask them about things that they’d forgotten about.

“I just try to do as good as them.”

Paradise Lane Christmas Lights
The dazzling display at 11 Paradise Lane, Branyan comprises 10,000 lights and 50 Christmas trees

Cameron’s collection of Christmas lights and decorations has grown over more than two decades.

“Nothing was bought overnight, it’s all just years and years and years,” he said.

“I’m quite a bargain shopper.

“Most of it is second hand and everything is LED so it’s all energy efficient.

“Ex-shopping centre displays, ex-Myer, Facebook Marketplace. You name it I’ve bought it.

“There are lots of people that have stopped doing lights and sold them to me and follow the Facebook page so they can see their decorations.”

No matter their origins, Cameron said each piece held a special place in his Paradise Lane Christmas Lights display.

“I can tell a story about every decoration, every string of lights that I’ve bought and where it came from.

“I stick to a certain style of Christmas and it’s more of a traditional feel.

“There was a comment that it looks like a movie and that’s the feel I go for.

“I have mostly white lights, because mum doesn’t like the others to be honest,” he said with a laugh.

In addition to decking the exterior of the house in lighting, every window of the house tells a different Christmas story.

“It’s all on the house and there is six window displays that all set a scene.”

Paradise Lane Christmas Lights
All six windows on the front of the house feature different Christmas scenes, from Jingle Bell Lane to nativity.

Walking around the Paradise Lane home you can witness a snow scene, Santa’s fireplace, a nativity scene, the elves workshop, Candy Cane Lane and a nutcracker scene among carollers and snowmen.

Building up such a substantial stash of Christmas lights and decorations requires quite a bit of space, and Cameron said it was lucky he had access to storage.

“I sort of just hang on to it and I always say ‘one day I’ll use it’.

“I’ve still got half a shed of stuff that hasn’t gone up.

“It’s a bit of a hoard to be honest.”

This year he travelled from Brisbane where he works in media and events to put together the Paradise Lane Christmas Markets display.

Putting together the impressive array of lights and decorations took 20 to 30 hours, which Cameron said is “not real long” compared to previous years.

“Because I don’t live there, I’ve got to drive home and smash out a heap.

“I stayed up until 1 am the night before last just to turn it on but there’s a few more things still to go up.

“I was completely and totally exhausted from this week and I was actually down back in Brisbane at work and I saw all the activity on the Facebook page and I saw everyone’s comments and I no longer felt exhausted,” Cameron said.

“It felt like my job was worth it.

“It feels good that people can enjoy it.”

The Paradise Lane Christmas Lights, which are part of Bundaberg Regional Council’s 12 Days of Christmas, officially launched last Saturday.

Paradise Lane Christmas Lights
Residents are invited to explore the Paradise Lane Christmas Lights display.

The lights display is a COVID safe event and Cameron said putting it together this year was even more special after the challenges of 2020.

“We just wanted to give something for Bundy to look forward to,” he said.

“We just want to give them something nice to enjoy because it has been an awful year.”

The Paradise Lane Christmas Lights are open to the public until 25 December from 6.30pm to 9.30pm each night, weather permitting.

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