While we are very grateful and excited for the publicity our show has received over the last few years, it has come with a few additional challenges, primarily the increased traffic in our neighborhood. Our sincerest desire is that our light show is a blessing and gift to the community and we would like to minimize the inconvenience on our closest neighbors as much as possible. So, we decided to purchase some large banners to help encourage visitors to be respectful and courteous when they come see our show.
We currently have 3 banners around the neighborhood, all with the same text. Two of them are vertically oriented (6′ tall by 3′ wide) and the other is horizontal (6′ wide by 3′ tall). They are supported by simple frames made of 1″ PVC pipe that is just fit together (well, mostly…we did end up gluing some of the joints to help combat strong winds). The banners are held onto the PVC with zip ties that go through holes we drilled in the corners of the frame.
The frame itself is held down to the ground by tent stakes. It turns out, stakes are not sufficient when the Colorado winds come through. So now the frame is held down by stakes…and by cinderblocks on top of the legs. We have also added some additional PVC bracing running from the top of each sign at an angle backwards to the ground. All of this together seems to be sufficient to withstand our strong winds.
The banners have the following text:
Please be courteous
Don’t block the road
Don’t block driveways
In retrospect, we should have also put our “Tune to 91.3FM” message on them as well but we didn’t think about it at the time. However, we have some vinyl letter/number stickers that are fairly large so we put that information on as well. We also added another backlit “Tune to” Info Sign on the east edge of our property so it is easier for people to see as they drive in and they won’t be as likely to stop right in front of the snowmen as they tune to the radio station.
We purchased the signs from bannersonthecheap.com and are very pleased with their quality. For the three signs, including the plastic tabs for attaching them (cheap version of a grommet) and shipping, they we just under $30 each (there was a promotional offer running at the time). The PVC for the frames adds about another $15 to each sign and the lights were about $10.
The signs are illuminated by inexpensive spotlights we got at Home Depot. For the signs on the edge of our property and in one neighbor’s yard, we have powered lights. One is connected to the same relay as our Info Sign and the other runs off a cheap Christmas light timer we picked up at Walmart. For the sign at the entrance of the neighborhood, we have 2 solar powered lights to illuminate it. In general, the solar light is pretty dim, but it is enough to help people see the sign, especially since their car headlights will also illuminate the signs as they drive into the neighborhood.
It seems the banners were helpful with the traffic since we put them up, though we have no measurable data to back this up. The biggest benefit is that people have lots of opportunities to see the radio station and thus don’t need to stop right in front of the house to see it on the info sign. Honestly, they are just reminders to people about common courtesy that shouldn’t really need reminding. It still requires people to read the signs and then choose to behave accordingly.
2020 Update: Last year, we had some challenges with the banner grommet holes (but not real grommets) starting to tear out in strong winds. We used some staples to reinforce the torn section and now use shower curtain rings or carabiners in the grommet holes rather than putting the zip ties directly there. It turns out zip ties can be pretty sharp. In hindsight, we should have paid extra to have legitimate grommets put into the banners when we bought them.