Mike Justak’s legacy of shimmering Christmas lights is still shining brightly this holiday season — the expansive display just moved a couple blocks in the Plymouth neighborhood.
Justak, who has lived with Parkinson’s disease since 2004, decided to stage his own light show in 2010 after being inspired by actor Michael J. Fox, who started a foundation for Parkinson’s research after he also came down with the disease.
In eight years Justak has raised almost $100,000 for Parkinson’s research, partly through donation boxes on site in his yard. “All of the money goes to Parkinson’s, not the lights or the electricity to run the show,” he said.
With the disease progression, Justak announced last year that he was unable to continue with the light show. Enter neighbor Matt Dunn, who heard that Justak was dropping his show and stopped by after Christmas, wondering how he might help. “Mike has done a tremendous amount of work on it over the years,” said Dunn, a magician who also owns Screamtown. “I asked if he’d be OK with moving the show a few blocks to my neighborhood and adding the Dayton’s window scenes.” Dunn also recruited several neighbors nearby to add to the display on their properties.
Justak was ecstatic to have help with the time-intensive show. It can take six to 10 hours to program just one minute of the music and light synchronization, he said. This year he’s added music from Minions, a Chanukka mix, and Neil Diamond, who also has Parkinson’s.
The combined show with Justak’s 60,000 lights and music and Dunn’s elf house, Cinderella and Wind in the Willows figurines runs from 5 to 10 p.m. daily through Dec. 28 near 4130 Juneau Lane N. The light and sound masters have two donation boxes set out, one for Parkinson’s and one for Meals on Wheels in Plymouth and Wayzata.
For more information, go to PDShimmers.com.