Shirley Piper finally hit the big time in her 30th and perhaps final year running her family’s Christmas display.
“We asked what she was going to do with the money,” said Glenda Leggett, Piper’s daughter. “She said, ‘I’m going to buy more lights.’ ”
Leggett said her 77-year-old mother’s health is failing. She said her mother asked her and her brother, Linwood Piper, to promise they’d keep the display going after she dies.
“I told her we loved Christmas just as much as she does,” Leggett said. “And she said, ‘Well, I don’t think so.’ But I think she’d be surprised.”
This year, the family’s display was condensed onto a single 3-acre property at 5725 Fixit Shop Road for the benefit of the TV show. It normally sprawls over 7 acres.
There’s a drive-through, a train ride and a candy store, which Leggett runs herself. She said she’s been so busy with the candy store that she hasn’t had time to watch her family’s episode.
Leggett said the show, which reached out to the family in July, was never something she or her mother would have sought out on their own.
“We never try to compete with anyone,” she said. “We do this because our family loves Christmas. We’re not out trying to win anything, outdo anyone – we just want to share our lights with the community in a world that’s not so loving.”
Gargan: 919-460-2604; @hgargan
Want to go?
Piper Lights at 5725 Fixit Shop Road, Wake Forest, features a drive-through display, a train ride, old-fashioned candy store and Santa. The lights are on daily until Jan. 6. Hours are Sunday to Thursday, 5:30 to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 5:30 to 10 p.m. Santa is there Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 7 to 9 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. Go to facebook.com/piperlights/ for updates.