The Lewis Lights, located in Purvis, are gearing up for another season of bringing light to south Mississippi in every possible way!
With over 200,000 lights and over 300 hundred pieces of handmade holiday woodwork, this family-owned and operated walk-through light display has brought joy to its visitors since 1989.
Evelyn Lewis, also a well-known artist in the area, is why this beloved holiday tradition started so many years ago.
“Every year, Aunt Evelyn loved to take her nieces and nephews in her car and go look at Christmas lights in Hattiesburg,” Deborah Lewis said. “After some time, it seemed like fewer people were decorating with lights and seasonal displays in their yards, so in 1989, she decided she’d save her gas money and start buying her own Christmas lights. She told us, I’ll put these lights up in the yard, and we can drive up and down the driveway., and it’s been growing ever since”
And, thus began the legacy of the Lewis Lights!
Aside from the beautiful lights, holiday displays, and festive music, there’s another legacy that embodies the Lewis Lights—the matriarch of the family, Mrs. Barbara Lewis.
Barbara Lewis was a master electrician and built a custom grid to run hundreds of thousands of lights on the family property. She repaired each light with great care and tried not to throw anything away while teaching other members of the Lewis family how to fix and salvage every light possible.
She was often seen passing out peppermints to each visitor that came to see the lights or greeting guests under the family tree, where large, painted ornaments of each Lewis family member’s name hang each year.
“Even when my mother became ill, she still sat at the kitchen table and repaired lights,” Deborah reminisced. “She kept the show running until she passed away this September.”
Now, Barbara’s daughter, Deborah, and her two aunts, Evelyn Lewis and Linda Roberts continue the Lewis Lights Legacy. It’s become a family tradition to be a part of so many other’s holiday traditions.
Visitors from all over Mississippi and the United States have come to see the Lewis Lights over the last 32 years.
“I think one of my favorite stories is when we had a man come out to see the lights, and we had just turned everything off for the season,” Lewis said. “He told us he was from Ireland and leaving to go home tomorrow. I went and told my Mom about the gentleman, and she walked outside and said, ‘Well, if you can prove you’re from Ireland, we will turn them back on for you.’ As soon as this man spoke one word to my mother, she started smiling and flipping the switches back on for him! We’ve laughed about this for years!”
The Lewis Lights will be officially turned on for all visitors to enjoy this 2021 season on Thanksgiving Day at 5:30 p.m. this year. They’ll shine nightly until December 31.
Admission is free, but donations are accepted and welcomed to help cover the cost of lights, electric bills, and maintenance or repairs. Hot chocolate is also available, as well as several locally made crafts and goodies.
The legacy of the Lewis Lights continues to bring holiday cheer to the lives of all those who visit each year and is visual proof of how one idea, one family, and some Christmas lights can brighten lives for generations.
The Lewis Lights are located at 280 White Chapel Road in Purvis. You can also find out more about the light display on their Facebook page.
All photos courtesy of Lewis Lights & Crafts