Jerry J. Sargent, 61, a computer company owner, had a dream of organizing some of his neighbors to light up one of the city's last rural areas with a "Beary Christmas" theme.

As a result, the West Gentile Lighting Association has produced one of Davis County's best outdoor holiday light shows.Two years ago, Sargent made 5 percent of the display. Last year he added 10 percent more and and the rest came this year with more than 900 hours of work.

He spent six days a week, two hours a day for several years making wooden cutouts, painting, planning and adding lights.

Why did he do all this work?

"People say, `Wouldn't it be nice if we had the Christmas spirit all year?' So, I committed a year ago to truly try and have it all year. The project reminded me of my commitment and made me more giving and selfless, and it caused me to think more of the Savior," he said.

Sargent got his neighbors together last summer for a cookout.

"I asked them if they'd be interested . . . Nobody threw it back at me . . . all the people have been very cooperative." He got 14 neighbors - four of whom he'd never met - to band together for the colossal light show.

His goal was to have the decorations done by the day after Thanksgiving. The unusually snowy and cold November hindered his efforts, but one neighbor, Ted Day, went the extra mile and helped Sargent out.

"It's brought the neighborhood together," Sargent said. "People really enjoy each other now . . . They're friends. It's a great relationship."

He said this display is a good symbol of what Christmas is all about. He never dreamed he'd get so many neighbors to cooperate. They shared equipment, lights and electricity. Now the public can share in the result nightly from 6-10 p.m. through New Year's Eve.

Sargent lives at 1219 W. Gentile. A cluster of homes west of there are all lighted up, too. Mayor Jerry Stevenson's nearby home is included in the display.

"It's fun to share the Christmas spirit with the people who drive by," Sargent said.

One 6-year-old girl even mailed him a card thanking him for the display. However, Sargent isn't looking for praise.

"I'm not interested in any recognition of me as an individual," he said, explaining that's why he's now blanketed the effort under the West Gentile Lighting Association name.

He wants the display to be fun but to also represent peace and neighborliness.

Sargent has already been contacted by other neighbors up the street who want to be included in next year's display.

"That's probably why I'll do it again next year - it makes me a better person," he said.

His wife, Patricia, helped color-coordinate the decorations. She also said her husband has had trouble sleeping, wondering how to make next year's display bigger and better.

Sargent said he wants to proceed at a leisurely pace next year; he may even add lights to the vacant field north of his house.

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This year's display also features holiday music in front of Sargent's home. Each home has 10 or more cutouts. Sargent said there are 250 total cutouts and thousands of lights involved in the project.

It attracts as many as 1,500 cars on weekend evenings.

The west Gentile homes were also a part of the 15th annual Layton Christmas Home Show earlier this month, adding an outdoor-lights-only element to the traditional in-home tour.

To reach the display from the south, take I-15 exit No. 332 and go north on Main Street to Gentile. From the north, take the Layton Mall exit, No. 334 and go south on Main to Gentile. The lights are about 11/4 miles west, just across the Denver and Rio Grande railroad tracks.

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