70K bulbs light up East County hillside home


Walt and Carol Smith outside their home, which lights up an El Cajon hillside every year.

Data pix.

EL CAJON, Calif. – For the past 55 years, one brightly colored star has lit up a hillside in El Cajon.

“I think the strobe is what catches a lot of people’s attention, because it sparkles,” Walt Smith said. He is the man responsible for the 70,000 lights displayed on the hillside home, off Hacienda Drive near El Pico Drive.

“It started with a star back in 1964, and then it evolved from there,” Walt’s wife, Carol, told FOX 5 with a smile.

The couple spends at least two weeks putting up the lights for neighbors to enjoy, but the weather Monday was so bad, no one seemed to want to visit.

“A bad storm took the star up there and broke it in half,” Smith said of a storm from 2005. Thankfully the winds aren’t expected to be bad this week. However, nearly three inches of rain could hit El Cajon by the end of the holidays.

Out in Alpine, the rain is expected to be a little worse. “Yeah, we’ve had a lot of rain lately,” Pat Lundeen, a local resident, said.

She was like many who thought they would try to beat the weather and the holiday rush to get her grocery shopping done early. “Well, I was at Costco earlier today and it was jammed,” she said. “You couldn’t even get a cart.”

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