By now, the secret has long been out.
Dave Rotondo’s house in Palmer Township just might be the greatest Christmastime attraction in the Lehigh Valley.
Besides its glowing assault on the senses, a visit there becomes an exercise in staggering statistics:
125: That’s the number of inflatables outside this year, give or take, he says.
1,000: That’s the wattage of the bulb inside the giant, 25-feet-tall inflatable Santa that lords over the backyard and summons curiosity-seekers like a red velvet beacon.
100: That’s the additional amp service Rotondo has to power his display. Besides that, there’s nothing special about the power required to bring his yard to life, he says.
“I probably don’t want to say (how much it costs). Put it this way, I’m still paying off the balance from last year. But that’s stuff other people don’t need to know.”
144: That’s a rough idea of the number of candy canes he hands out on a busy night, such as Sunday night. 12 boxes a night. 12 sticks to a box.
50: That’s how many pounds of popcorn kernels he’s popped and handed out from the portable greenhouse in the front yard, where he also makes cocoa and cappuccino. It’s a far cry from the portable cart he used years ago. The hut has heat and running water.
3: That’s the number of flavors of cappuccino he offers, again, for free. Your choices: pumpkin spice, french vanilla and white chocolate caramel.
3: That’s how many weeks Rotondo works full-time putting his decorations in position and decorating for Christmas. He says it’s possible because of the down time with his business, Dave’s Pool and Pond Service.
5, maybe 6: That’s how many hours a night you can see the place in all its glory. Rotondo tries to stick to 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., but most nights the people keep coming until 10 p.m. or so, he says.
1: That’s the number of signs neighbors have put up to keep the crowds from trampling their grass. Speaking of neighbors: “The neighbors are pretty decent,” Rotondo said. “Some of them love it.” But, ahem, not all do.
Rotondo accepts donations but doesn’t charge a dime for any of the treats he offers. He says he can’t bring himself to even consider the thought.
“I can’t afford it but what the heck,” he said. “There are a lot of people who are worse off than me. The donations help with the supplies. I could never afford it if I had to sell it, so it’s all free.”
Rotondo said his plan is to enjoy spreading joy to others now while he can.
“You never know what life has in store for you,” he said.