LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — In the light of day, the yard at 200 Toronto Road looks like it was hit by a tornado, with plastic and fabric, stakes and wires scattered all about. But with the press of just a few buttons, homeowner Johnny Richie makes that yard come to life.
Homeowner Johnny Richie said he started with three inflatables 20 years ago.
That decorating experiment blew up into something much larger. Now he and his wife, Shirley, have at least a couple hundred inflatables, some of them 20 feet tall. He said he has no idea of the actual number, but what passersby see in his yard is probably just half of the collection.
They have two storage sheds behind their home full of inflatables. Johnny said they’re easier to keep than most other decorations because they fold up flat and he can get several in one plastic bin.
With so many, the display is never the same from one year to the next. “I added 80 more outlets this year,” Johnny said. “If I see an inflatable I like, I just have to get it.”
Plus, he said, he has to replace several each year. As they get older, the fabric gets torn or the fans get weak.
“They don’t make ’em like they used to.”
When the sun goes down and the inflatables are all aglow, the yard becomes a windy wonderland. The home gets hidden by the puffed-up crowd of cartoon characters, holiday heroes, and even reformed villains, such as Darth Vader. Kids seem to favor the large green dragon on the roof.
The Richies want sightseers to get out of their cars and walk among the decorations, viewing them from all sides. The display is up every night until the new year, unless winds get above 10 miles per hour.
“Get out, walk around, touch everything.,” Shirley said. “If it falls over, we usually come out every 30 minutes to try to make sure everything is still up. Just have fun.”
The Richies also have toys and treats waiting in a sleigh for the children who come by.
They’re not concerned that it sometimes seems as if their whole lives are on display.
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Shirley said, “When we have visitors over and I have the front door open, they’re like, ‘People are looking in.’ It doesn’t even phase us anymore. We’re just used to it.”
Ashley Blair said she and her son Isiah have been coming by to see the house for the past five years.
“They even include the nativity, which I very much appreciate because that is what Christmas is all about, and we think it’s fascinating,” Blair said.
The Richies said they don’t worry about an inflated electric bill in December. They pay on a budget plan throughout the year and don’t even think about what portion of that may be due to the decorations.
They also have inflatables for Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Independence Day, and Easter. You can follow them on Facebook at “Toronto Rd Holidays.”
When your decorations stop traffic you must be doing something right. The Richies go the extra yard to make their yard … extra.