Once called the undisputed King of Lights in the Lebanon Valley, Frank Weihrauch Jr. deserves credit for making Christmas magical for many Lebanon children over the years — a legacy that continues to this day thanks to one man who himself was inspired visiting Weihrauch’s display years ago.
Weihrauch was a graduate of Lebanon High School class of 1959, which he followed with a tour in the U.S. Army. When he returned to Lebanon, he got into the electronics business, eventually opening a shop in the garage behind his house. The earliest Christmas display Weihrauch was known to make came in 1962.
Weihrauch’s display was targeted for petty theft throughout the years, with bulbs and displays often sniped by local mischief makers. The display was also apparently impacted by the energy crisis of 1973, during which holiday season the couple wrote into the Daily News, “We are looking forward to a future with no energy crisis so we can light up our Christmas lights again and share them with the young and old.”
Thanks to Darrel Moyer (more about him in a minute) we have a nice video showing Weihrauch’s display over the decades.
Even in its first years, the display was featured in the Lebanon Daily News.
Weihrauch died in November 2006, unexpectedly after complications from pneumonia and a weak heart, and is buried at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery. That same year, local reporter John Latimer spoke with Weihrauch’s widow, Sharon, who explained, “When we bought a house, it had to be a place where he could put his lights up. That was the most important thing. It was the love of his life.” Just the electric bill alone would run into the thousands of dollars for a season.
The tradition is kept alive by Darrel Moyer, who grew up seeing Weihrauch’s display and was inspired by the “electronics genius” who had just about perfected his craft, with the one missing component of synchronizing the lights to music. Moyer decorated his house before Weihrauch died, but in 2006 he began to take the display to the next level.
When it became public in 2010 that Moyer was inspired by Weihrauch, one of the older man’s assistants got in touch and even donated some of Frank’s lights to the Moyer display.
Moyer is a 2008 graduate of Annville-Cleona High School, and he learned all about electronics at the Lebanon County Career and Technology Center. In a 2015 profile, he gave a shoutout to Weihrauch for being an innovator with computerized displays: “He was way ahead of his time. He built his scrolling sign back in the late 1970s. He built those pinwheels, and the stars up on the roof that were in two sections, and a flag and all that stuff.”
Here’s what Moyer’s display looked like last year:
And this year:
Since 2010, Moyer has used a Light-O-Rama system to animate the show to music. Moyer has also branched out into other light displays, such as his second biggest focus, Halloween, but also Flag Day, Memorial Day, Easter, the 4th of July, Labor Day, and Valentine’s Day.
Visit the Moyer Christmas Display
117 W. Penn Ave
Cleona, PA 17042