PD Shimmers by the Numbers:


-Total number of lights in the show. Each light represents one newly diagnosed American with Parkinson’s Disease in 2016. In reality we believe we use well over 60,000 lights. We upgrade old strings but the net effect is to grow the show each year.

- The number of sets ( or strings) of lights. Picture 830 boxes of lights in your shopping cart! Good thing we didn’t buy them all in one year.


  • The total length (in feet) of the light strings laid end to end.

  • Total watts of the entire light bank if full on together. That is the equivalent of 92 incandescent 60W light bulbs. PD Shimmers entire light show uses efficient LED bulbs.

Total watts if ordinary incandescent lights were used. That would be like 550 60 watt light bulbs.

The number of 4” plastic “zip” ties used to bind together the strings.

The number of feet of electric cable used to connect light strings to controllers to 120v electric outlet.

The number of control points (channels) to turn light strings on or off. If these were standard wall switches mounted in a row you would need a wall over 25’ long.

600 to 1
Minutes needed to program 1 minute of show music

How Do You Do This?

What is PD Shimmers?

By definition, a synchronized light show. This means that the music track is linked to what you see in the strings of Christmas Lights. PD Shimmers uses 100% LED Light strings with bulb sizes varing between M5 and C6. There is newer technology that uses pixels instead of single color bulbs. Pixels may use any combination of over 64,000 colors. It has been the decision of the MJFPD Board to not invest in this technology as it would render all current equipment obsolete. However we are 100% certain that when you drive up to Ithaca Lane or Echo Road, You Will Be Amazed!.

Just How do you get PD Shimmers to work?
Shimmer 101


As Julie Andrews would say in Sound of Music, “ Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.”Music
Listen to music and trust your judgement. It is the preference of PD Shimmers to annotate the music clips it uses to minimize repetition and to keep the pace of the overall show moving or advancing quickly. The audience may range from a few weeks to over 70 years old. It is a challenge to satisfy the musical tastes of this diverse audience. To edit the song software entitled Audacity is used. This is usually available for download without charge. All songs used by PD Shimmers are purchased usually through Amazon. PD Shimmers does not “share” music due do copyright laws.
Audacity lets you not only edit the music but it can analyze as well, helping one to nail down the beats.
The Audacity image link takes you to the download page.

Join these sites to gain knowledge on getting started with this hobby. You have many decisions to make upcoming. We will concentrate on the path we’ve choosen.

You can choose from do it yourself or boxed off the shelf. For out of the box the most common choice is Light O Rama. For Do It Yourself, PD Shimmers opted to use Renard based controller hardware. The technology is proven with thousands of hours of use under its belt. This is probably best suited to the use of traditional light string lights. You can build your own or buy used.

What is returning to Season VII is the great mix of music that is choreographed to the over 58,000 LED Lights. The show celebrates the spirit of the season with selections performed by, Johnny Mathis, David Foster, Trans Siberian Orchestra ,Mannheim Steamroller, and The Piano Guys. New sequences this year add Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling" and The Carpenters "Only Yesterday." The lights again will encompass both sides of the street. Look for the signature moment when all 58,000 lights go "full on" to represent the 58,000 Americans newly diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2016. It occurs during the song "Boughs of Holly" which is at the top of the playlist this year. Changes you will see include the raising of the spiral megatree from 15' to over 20' . A new display attraction is the addition of "The Tree". It features over 3,000 lights on a standard six foot christmas tree. You will surely notice the changes to the sound of the show, broadcast in FM Stereo on 97.9. The input signal has been digitized, and spectrally enhanced to bring you the best sounding lightship you could find.

Hidden “Mickeys”

As a multi time visitor to the Magic Kingdom I was fascinated with hidden gems there before your eyes if you just looked. Well PD Shimmers has a few of its own to offer as well.

Hidden Faces-
It has been reported that a side effect of some Parkinson’s meds create hallucinatory effects. Well what do you see? Which display items are looking back a you?

So You Think You Can Dance?
No Nigel and Twitch aren’t here but “The Tree” is. Try to position yourself so you can see the video screen and the front view of “The Tree.” Watch Prince in Raspberry Beret and Doves Cry but keep an eye on the Tree attempts to mimic.
What other video does the Tree dance to?

Some things are just too deep…

Dueling Banjo’s is begun by the Tree, one of the shortest display pieces making it hard to find. The tree is symbolic. It wants to be seen, heard, and have value? So does a person with Parkinson’s.

Shake it Off
Isn’t playing Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off in poor taste?

On the contrary, Using humor helps one to deal with the rough days/ times that happen to a person with Parkinson’s. Watch to see what “green” tree giggles during “Shake it Off.”

What does MJFPD do with the money it collects?

It is used to enable those with Parkinson’s to live a little easier. Money collected has funded Holiday Light Bus Tours for over 200 Parkinson’s Patients. 20 have increased mobility with Nordic Walking Poles purchased through the Foundation. Another 100 checked out using laughter as the best medicine by attending Laughter Yoga sessions. Exercise has been front and center by purchasing discount passes. Punch Parkinson’s- a program to help defer costs associated with this cutting edge therapy couldn’t exist without those red boxes.
Money that comes in this Holiday Season sets the budget for 2017’s programs. We need your help now more than ever.

But you have those “fat cat” sponsors?

Sponsors help keep the lights on. PD Shimmers 30 day run ends just as Minnesota Winter sets in. It’s hard on the equipment and lights. Without sponsors the lights would go dark.