By Emily Williams
The day after Thanksgiving, holiday preparations rev up at Casey Dunn’s home in Homewood.
While Dunn may be a public figure as head coach of Samford’s baseball team, his home is famous in its own right because of the family’s tradition of decking out the yard in a sea of lit inflatable holiday decorations.
“It started when I was first married 17 years ago but started to really grow as my daughter has gotten older,” Dunn said.
Each year, the Dunns add to their growing “sculpture garden” of inflatables covering a wide variety of holiday themes.
As Dunn noted, two favorites of the family are the “Wack-a-Penguin” and the “Mooning Santa.”
Dunn then lights a path through the yard, welcoming visitors to navigate their way through the more than 50 inflatables that cover the lawn.
“The best part is seeing families enjoying the display together,” he said. Each night the home is lit from the early evening until 9 p.m.
The annual display has earned the Dunn home a place in Fresh Air Family’s annual Wacky Tacky Christmas Light Tour. This year’s bus tour, taking place during the evenings of Dec. 12-14 at Avondale Brewing Company, will include a stop at the Dunn’s home.
“Casey Dunn is the top of the line when it comes to Wacky Tacky houses,” said Verna Gates, founder and executive director of Fresh Air Family.
Gates and her fellow tour planners scout out new homes to add to the tour a few weeks before the event each year, which serves as a fundraiser for one of the organization’s outreach programs, Gross Out Camp.
The week-long day camp is held during the summer and during spring break, and it offers elementary-aged kids the opportunity to experience interesting aspects of nature while learning the science behind them along the way.
The funds raised through the Christmas tour help Fresh Air Family coordinate camps in Birmingham, Pell City, Trussville, McCalla, Pelham, Montgomery and Huntsville. In addition, the camp is able to offer scholarships to families that have significant financial needs.
“We are expecting 1,200 people this year,” Gates added. “Last year’s event raised $43,500 to send 214 underserved children to our award-winning science camp, Gross Out Camp.”
Tour buses will depart from Avondale Brewing Co. every 20 minutes from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m., and Dreamland Bar-B-Que will be serving food for guests.
Non-member tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for children, and member tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for kids. Larger groups also have the option of booking a private bus tour for $100.
For more information, visit freshairfamily.org.