Even in Christmas of higher costs, Salt Lake display beams brightly

Dec 8, 2023, 12:45 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — Among the many houses with Christmas lights and decorations this holiday season, there’s one that’s still extremely hard to miss.

Forrest Nunley’s display of hundreds of blow molds with lights simply glows from the hillside high up in the Avenues.

It all began 30 years ago, and 805 E. 18th Avenue now comes up on GPS as “Frosty’s Winter Wonderland.”

“We had about 18 blow molds when we started and a lot of lights,” Nunley told KSL TV. “Then we started collecting the blow molds. Each year we’d collect 20 more, 30 more a year to where it’s grown to over 500 blow molds now.”

Putting on a massive display is never easy or cheap.

Nunley has said the work typically begins in early October and while the display had ballooned to over 500 blow molds, more recently he cut back to roughly 400 with energy-efficient lighting.

“We’ve updated all to LED bulbs,” Nunley said. “Each plastic blow mold only takes about three watts.”

Nunley said the reels of lights had become very expensive, so he had cut back on those.

To him, though, the payoff is obvious in the joy the display brings to visitors who arrive sometimes from not just around the city or state, but from around the world.

“Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, all the students from all over the world come up here,” Nunley said. “People from all over the United States — it’s just really neat to be engaged and do something like this. It’s so rewarding to us.”

Nunley said staying outside and interacting with the visitors is one of the best parts.

“It makes us so happy to do it,” Nunley said. “I don’t know if I could stop doing it. My body is saying, ‘You should have stopped already.’ It’s getting more physical all the time — getting up and down these steps 10,000 times a year — but it’s better than sitting around and doing nothing. I’d be bored without it.”

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Even in Christmas of higher costs, Salt Lake display beams brightly