Each October he begins the process of preparing more than 11,000 lights for a holiday display at the home he shares with his wife Tammy. It's four weekends of work before the lights come on just after Thanksgiving -- but the light display has become an anticipated event for their friends and neighbors near Copeland Cove.
The efforts of Ballard's annual ritual were recognized this week, as the Shelbyville-Bedford County Beautification Committee named the display as the first winner in their inaugural Christmas Decoration Contest.
The committee received 36 nominations from the community for 22 decorated residential and business properties throughout the county, and a team of seven judges visited each entry last week. Tammy's mother nominated the winning entry.
According to Tammy, the neighbors have favorites among the displays Sonny crafts by hand.
"Is Santa going on the roof this year?" asked one neighbor after he didn't appear in the first days after the lights came on. "She said she can see him from her window, if he's on the roof and wanted to know where he was," said Tammy.
During December some neighbors reportedly change their normal driving route to include a pass by the Ballard home. Another neighbor shared that the display was more appealing to her toddler than the television. The little girl spends hours staring out the back window at the lights nearby.
Though Sonny says the roof of his home "seems to get a little steeper" each year, he plans to continue the tradition.
Pleased with this year's success, the Chamber plans to hold the contest again next year. Nominations will be accepted at the beginning of November, 2012, and will continue until early December.