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Father, autistic son design holiday lights display for a cause

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SAN DIEGO — The Belardo Lights display is a tradition a family started to raise awareness about autism.

Randy Schimka's front yard in Tierrasanta is decorated with 100,000 lights, complete with snowmen, St. Nick and snowflakes.

The idea came to Schimka 10 years ago when he and his autistic son Brandon, then 8 years old, were looking at neighborhood holiday light displays.

“He wanted to go back and see them again which was unusual. It was hard to find things that we could do together,” he said.

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Together the father and son joined other family members to create a display that has grown to something spectacular.  This year it took two weeks to set up.

For several weeks during the holidays, Schimka greets visitors and teaches them about autism.

So far this season they have raised $10,000 for children with autism.

The final night for the display is Saturday, Dec. 27. Belardo Lights is located at 5306 Belardo Drive in Tierrasanta.

For more information, visit the Belardo Lights website.