Local 4 News has been venturing across the Quad Cities over the past couple of weeks as part of the countdown to Christmas.
Chief Meteorologist Andy McCray stopped by a Coal Valley neighborhood Wednesday evening to check out a massive inflatables display.
The ToneySteph Christmas Yard at 1709 E. 3rd St. made its debut in 2007 with just a few inflatables.
This year, the family has 260 inflatables on display.
Blown-up versions of characters and props from various holiday movies and TV shows are scattered around two different yards, including:
- Mickey Mouse
- Minnie Mouse
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Frosty the Snowman
- Multiple Santa Claus inflatables
- Mrs. Claus
- “Despicable Me” Minions
- Clark Griswold
- The “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” Griswold family station wagon and Cousin Eddie’s RV
- Characters from “Frozen” (Sven, Elsa, Olaf)
Some of the more unique inflatables on display include a pig, an owl, a mechanical dog, a St. Bernard, a mixer, a candy castle, penguins, a dinosaur, an 18-foot Abominable Snowman, a 26-foot Santa Claus and a 20-foot snowman.
Stephanie Genova, the brains behind the Christmas Yard, decided three years ago that she was going to use the inflatables display as a way to give back to the community.
Genova started the “Kickoff to Christmas” event, asking for monetary and nonperishable food item donations for Quad City families in need.
This year’s event begins Saturday evening.
“Kickoff to Christmas is this Saturday, Dec. 4, at 6:30 p.m.,” said Genova. “It’s free to everybody to come out. We just ask for monetary donations and perishable food items.”
Donations will then be transformed into food baskets for at least a couple dozen area families — with items such as ham, turkey, pie and all the festive fixings.
The goal is to provide full holiday meals to families that otherwise wouldn’t get to have them this time of year.
Genova says people can nominate themselves or a family in need.
“It can be neighbors, friends, family. They can nominate themselves if they’ve had hardships this year,” said Genova. “There’s a form on our Facebook page that they can fill out.”
Genova and her husband, Toney, go through the letters and pick families. All meals are given out during the week of Christmas.
“This is our third year for it. We did 20 baskets last year,” said Genova. “We’re hoping for 30 this year, which I’m pretty sure we’ll get there.”
The “Kickoff to Christmas” event will run until 9 p.m. Saturday with special guests and activities for kids.
“We’ll have Santa, Mrs. Claus, the Grinch, crafts for kids,” said Genova.
Not able to attend Saturday’s event? You can still drive by and see the inflatables any night throughout the rest of the month.
“We taken them down on Dec. 26, but they’re mostly up throughout the season,” said Genova.
Learn more about the ToneySteph Christmas Yard here.