92,000 lights to brighten holiday at Woodland Mall

Category: Community
by GoBGOhio.
Effective through

By DEBBIE ROGERS, Sentinel-Tribune Staff Writer Drake Doren’s Christmas present to the public gets bigger and brighter every year. This holiday season, he’s bringing his 92,000 light show to the Woodland Mall, where it will open Friday and run nightly from 6-11 p.m. through New Year’s Day. The Bowling Green man has been entertaining thousands every year with his spectacular displays of synchronized lights that dance and blink and bop to holiday songs. He had a display for years at his former home on Hilt Road, then set up outside the Wood County District Public Library, 251 N. Main St., last year. The mall, though, could be the best spot of all. “It will be so much better here because people have a place to park,” Doren said. “At the library, there wasn’t much height to it. Here, I had to get a bucket lift (to put up lights).” Doren got the go-ahead for the mall display in late summer, and the wheels started churning. “I came out one night, I took out a notepad and drew everything in,” Doren said. “I have that vision right away. I see it in my head before it even touches the paper or the software.” With the drawing in hand, he started plugging away at the computer part, holed up in an “office” at the south end of the mall. He’s spent the last few weeks at the mall, working on the display from noon-midnight. “It’s absolutely what I love to do and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Doren said. “I love to make people happy, and love the technology and the lights.” The star of the show is the wreath that hangs on the main entrance. Every tree and light pole in the front of the mall is wrapped tight with lights, too. The blinking bulbs are synchronized to five songs that loop on 103.3 FM. Doren said the best spot to watch is far back in the center of the parking lot toward North Main Street. Although, he said there will be speakers outside and people can stroll around the lights for an up-close view. Don’t be surprised if Doren’s hanging out in the shadows. He loves to see people’s reactions to his displays and to hear the feedback. “This is just a unique thing that everybody loves to see,” he said. “They (the lights) have the ability to take anyone in any state of mind and put them in a good mood.” A fascination with lights and computers was evident in Doren when he was a little boy. He set up his first outdoor light display at the family home when he was 12. Doren said he’s taking a break from studies at Bowling Green State University, and is busy running his own company, Everglow, a mobile production company for concerts. “I’ve become the technical director for all the Nate and Wally bars,” he added. Doren has other holiday jobs this season. He’s working the lights for the Bowing Green High School orchestra concert on Dec. 1 and for Julie’s Dance Studio’s “The Nutcracker Ballet All Jazzed Up” Dec. 16-18, both at the Performing Arts Center. Julie Setzer, owner of the dance studio, recalled getting a text from Doren in September, saying he was available to do a light show at the mall. “We were here, actually rehearsing ‘The Nutcracker,’” Setzer said. “The girls were dancing and it was pouring and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, couldn’t we use some bright cheer?’” She pitched the display to mall management and Doren was unloading his lights the next afternoon. “He’s talented. He’s pretty amazing,” Setzer said. “I feel very grateful that he’s doing it. And I cannot wait until Black Friday so we can see it.” Doren also set up a holiday light display in Hensville, downtown Toledo, which opened last weekend. He’s worked for the Mud Hens and Walleye as a DJ for three years and made them aware of his lighting talents during his initial job interview. They took him up on his lights offer this year, asking him in July to oversee the project. Doren said he had the assistance of a crew to put up the Toledo display, which has more lights than he can count. “They wanted to do so much, and it’s great,” he said, adding that his home for the holidays will always be Bowling Green. “I love doing it for this town because that is where I grew up and it’s always taken care of me.”

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