To say that the Wrinn-Pirruccio and Wickham families love to decorate their homes for Christmas is an understatement.
In fact, motorists can see the lights from Route 9 and often pull off the roadway to investigate the curious glow through the trees, then make their way to what Michelle Pirruccio and her neighbors call the 263 and 277 Sand Hill Road Holiday Extravaganza.
“Me, my husband and our neighbor have been "decking the house" for a few years now,” Pirruccio says, referring to her husband Tom Wrinn and neighbors Cathy and Tom Wichkam. “We live on a dead-end street and you can see the glow of our homes from Route 9 (near the Bow Lane exit), folks get off the exit and "try" to find our houses.”
Ever since she moved into her home on this dead-end street, Pirruccio, a Realtor by profession, has decorated inside and out with Christmas lights. "We love the holidays and we wanted to make a statement."
Three years ago, the families decided to share their holiday spirit with those in need.
“Since we had created this traffic, we decided to put it to good use. We collect donations for the Amazing Grace Food Pantry, CATALES and the dog shelters (which serve Middletown, Middlefield, Cromwell and Portland, too),” Pirruccio says. “People drop off non-perishables and cash and we get it to these worthy causes.”
By the end of the holiday season, Pirruccio and her neighbors have several truckfuls of food — human and animal — hundreds of pounds' worth for charity.
Cash thrown into the holiday wagon outside their home presented a potential loss problem, so Pirruccio installed a locked mailbox with a slot into which folks can safely make cash donations.
The display and accompanying donations will be up through Jan. 7. During weekdays, the lights are lit fro 6-10 p.m. and on weekends through 11 p.m.