Speedway family’s amazing Christmas lights display attracts hundreds of visitors each year

SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Speedway, Indiana is one of the most popular destinations for racing in the United States, but one local family’s light display also makes it a great place to get in the holiday spirit.

The Bates family’s spectacular light display has attracted hundreds of visitors each year for more than 20 years. Every inch of their home located at the corner of West 22nd Street and Fisher Avenue has been covered in lights for the holidays.
Dave Bates is the mastermind behind the creation. He started decorating the house when his daughter Cory and son Cody were very young.

“My brother and I grew up in this house, and I think he just wanted to start a really cool family tradition. So my brother started helping him when he was 6, and it has just been growing from there,” Cory said.

Cody continues to help whenever he can, and now Cory’s husband Alex Smith also helps with the display.

The current light display has exponentially grown since the first year.

“The first year we had the roof lights and Frosty on the roof as well. And we had a couple of lawn ornaments and wrapped the posts on the deck but nothing like this. Year after year, my dad will find more ornaments and lights and then he just kind of accumulates them and puts out which ones he likes the best,” Cory said.

There are several new additions this year, including a large green wreath on the front window, a large white candy cane in the yard, additional lights on the garage, and a large Santa Claus on the front porch.

As you can imagine, the decorating process is very time consuming. Dave works on it every evening for two weeks and also two straight weekends in November.

Dave’s wife Julie says every year he debates whether or not to put them up, but he’s always motivated by the community’s response.

Julie Bates, Dave’s wife, says he’s motivated each year to put up the lights by the community’s positive response.

“He got a ‘Thank You’ note in the mail one year from a family in Utah that was visiting the area and brought their twin boys by to see the lights. They said how much they enjoyed the display,” Julie said.

Cory is very grateful that her father continues to work so hard each year to spread Christmas cheer.

“Saturday nights it gets pretty full in front of the house. There are a lot of cars that come and go. Families will get out and take pictures. People get family photos. Everybody seems to enjoy the lights, and people that we know and don’t know love them. It’s something that everyone can look forward to,” Cory said.

The Bates family turns on the lights from 5:30 p.m. to midnight every day, and they will keep the lights up until New Year’s Day.