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Jeremy Harmon, for the Deseret Morning News
Family and friends stand amid the display by Murray resident Marty Slack to listen to the Wasatch Brass at the lighting ceremony.

MURRAY — The Kennecott Copper mine may not be the only thing in Utah visible from space after Marty Slack turned on more than 70,000 Christmas lights Friday night at his Murray home.

Slack is a self-proclaimed Christmas light fanatic. He plans, builds and welds his masterpieces all year long so they are ready for his display, Christmas Utah, with the lights and music all computer- and remote-controlled.

He even attended a Planet Christmas Lights Up Symposium in Nashville, Tenn., this summer and was able to network with several other Christmas light fanatics and get more ideas for next year's display. He has put on his personal holiday show for several years, but he said this year's is the most advanced and possibly the largest non-commercial Christmas light show in the state.

He kicked off Christmas Utah Friday night with a Grand Lighting Ceremony accompanied by hot chocolate and live Christmas music provided by Wasatch Brass and the Deseret Horn Quartet. As the lights started to come on they danced, synchronized to music and then lit up in all their glory on the song's final note.

The ceremony attracted a sizable crowd for a residential display and Slack said that in past years he has had a steady stream of cars every night, driving into their cul-de-sac to have a look. But this year he has made accommodations for spectators to wander among the lights, listen to the music and view the animated figures, nativity and loudly lit trees — he even has a fog machine for effect.

Slack, a captain with the Salt Lake County Fire Department, said putting it all together takes a lot of work and patience, but it's a labor of love.

"The number one reason I do it is because it's exciting to see the smiles on the faces of the kids," said Slack. "Cars will pull in here and we'll have kids just screaming, not laughing, but squealing when they see it."

From now until New Year's Eve the light show will be on display each evening from sundown to 10 p.m. and will include live music on weekends and some weeknights through Christmas Eve. Christmas Utah is located at 5631 S. Whispering Pine Circle (820 East). Driving directions and more information are available at www.christmasutah.com


E-mail: terickson@desnews.com