After a one-year hiatus, the Luke's Lights holiday light display in Dover has returned.

The display that was first put up by Luke Dobson when he was 11 continues for a 12th Christmas season, even he after he graduated from Yale University and moved to New York City. After a year off, Dobson has spent the past few weekends at home setting up the display with his dad, just like when he first started doing so as a child.

This year's light show features 8,500 lights synchronized to music, which can be heard on a low power FM frequency by those driving by the display. It had a "soft" opening Saturday night, and opens for the season Sunday.

Out of respect for his neighbors, Dobson does not publicize the location, but it can be obtained by request from the Luke's Light website.

Dobson drew his inspiration for the display from a YouTube video of a "really awesome, synchronized, light show" he thought he could do, too.

"Always growing up, I loved lights. I ended up studying electrical engineering in college. I'm a big fan of the whole 'do-it-yourself' idea and reverse engineering, putting things together. So this was a natural fit," Dobson told Seacoast Current.

Trees that are part of the Luke's Lights display
Trees that are part of the Luke's Lights display (Luke's Light)

Energy Efficient Lights

Despite the cost of electricity being at an all-time high, it does not impact the show, as Dobson uses energy-efficient LEDs.

"Because our show is synchronized, none of our lights are on all of the time. So even though we have 8,500 lights, the number on at any point in time is usually much lower," Dobson said.

Dobson said he will not need to be present at the display to run the light show itself. The part of the show that will require additional support is the food pantry collection, which his parents and neighbors help with.  It is Dobson's way to give back to the community.

"We're thankful for the support of our neighbors. Of course, an ongoing display with so much support wouldn't be possible without them. And so we are very incredibly grateful for them," Dobson said.

A couple of bins will be set up at the bottom of his parents' driveway for the donation of non-perishable items that are not in glass containers to be donated to the St. Joseph food pantry in Dover.

Food collection in 2019 at the Luke's Lights display
Food collection in 2019 at the Luke's Lights display (Luke's Lights)

Holiday Hits New and Old

Dobson said the playlist for the display will see the return of favorites and elements. Singer Meghan Trainor's rendition of the Wham! holiday staple "Last Christmas" will be a new addition to the curated list this year.

"A lot of folks have commented that they want a "Last Christmas", or some classic Christmas songs. And we feel like being able to make a classic song with a modern artist is one of the hallmarks of Luke's Lights, and something that creates cross generational appeal," Dobson said.

The display is open through December 31 on Sundays through Thursdays, 4:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., and Fridays & Saturdays until 10 p.m., weather permitting. Rainy weather could cause the show to be canceled, as the lights are sensitive to rain.

Major storms could also cause a cancellation, which will be posted on the Lukes Light website and social media.

Luke's Lights display in Dover
Luke's Lights display in Dover (Luke's Lights)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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