Frequently Asked Questions
Over the years, some of the same questions are asked by our many visitors. In answer to your requests, here are some Casa del Pomba Christmas Display facts.
What is Casa del Pomba? Portuguese for "House of the Dove", this is the private residence of Deacon Dave Rezendes. On December 4th, 1982, Deacon Dave was ordained a Roman Catholic deacon. When he was ordained, he dedicated his home to the Holy Spirit. The symbol of the Holy Spirit is the dove. Deacon is one of the clergy of St. Michael's Church in Livermore. He is also the Bishop's representative to the Deacon's & Director of Deacon Personnel in the Diocese of Oakland. He also owns a security business in Livermore. A busy man!
When did Deacon Dave start providing Christmas displays, and why so lavish? Although he started putting up lights many years before, the first large display went up in 1983. He loves Christmas, and loves to share with others. This is a gift to the community.
When did the crew begin work? Although main construction begins in late August, planning for the next year begins before the current year is finished. Construction takes place most weekends until the week before opening, when the crew is on-site daily. The light crew begins work in early October. The light crews work weekends, and occasional evenings during the weeks, to get the lights up in time. Over 2000 hours of volunteer time goes into each display.
Does Deacon Dave plan the display himself? Heaven's no! The Deacon names the theme each year, and does some planning and design. A team of advisors, who are specialists in various fields, takes the theme and runs with it! They are dedicated volunteers who share Deacon's excitement for Christmas. They often have to be reined in because they come up with some humdingers of ideas!
Who are all the volunteers? The volunteer crew is made up of community members with a love for the holiday and a desire to share that love with others. They are from all faiths and backgrounds. Only by their giving of their free time and energy can this display be so spectacular.
What is the PG&E Bill? The display is Deacon Dave's gift to the community. As he tells many people each year, if you would like to pay the bill, he'll tell you the amount. So far no one has taken him up on the offer!
Where do all the donations go? What is "Deacon's Charity"? The money collected at the front door in the wreath and donation box, along with the coin tossed in the ponds, all goes to Santa's Secret Service. This group from St. Michael's Church provides gifts to hospitals, rest homes, youth homes, shelters, children's homes, shut-ins, homeless, and the poor throughout the Bay Area with no regard to faith. Although some people have given money directly to Deacon to be used specifically for the display, none of the money collected at the display pays for expenses. This is Deacon's and the volunteer's gift to the community.
Can we tour the inside of the home? No, this is Deacon Dave's private residence. He does have parties for St. Michael's staff, his Christmas Crew, and families and close friends. Inside the home, there is at least one tree in each room, including the laundry room and bathroom! There are over 20 trees in all, all decorated by Deacon himself. Each one has a theme, either relating to the room it's in or a favorite hobby of Deacon's. Some of the themes are trains, Daffy Duck, religious, dove, teddy bears, peacocks, and Native American. The living room tree in the front window changes each year, to either represent the area or display theme.
Where did the Nativity Scene in the front window come from? Deacon wants to remind people of the real reason for the season, so he has a lavish nativity crèche always in the front window. New pieces are collected each year. The angels hanging above are imported from Italy, and are handmade papier mache. Very delicate, they appear to be flying over the display.
How do you get the lights up in the trees? The lights are placed in the trees using extension poles with hooks on the end. The lights in the trees in the back yard are placed in the trees using the same poles, but also standing on step ladders on the roof of the house.
Who comes up with the themes? Deacon Dave has a general idea of themes for the next 3-5 years. He then meets with his main design team to discuss layout and design. The crew learns of the next year's display at the crew party a week or so before Christmas. The theme is always kept a secret until opening night. The crew is sworn to secrecy - so don't try to get any inside information!
Can I become a part of the crew? If you are interested in volunteering, we are always looking for construction helpers, painters, light hangers, and general helpers. If you have a few weekends available to help, please e-mail Jeanie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please, no one under 16.
The number one question each year - How many lights are there? The number has been climbing each year. There is always a sign somewhere in the display that gives the current count. 1998 had approximately 172,000 lights. The goal is 200,000 for the year 2000. 1997 was the first year standard home electrical service couldn't handle the load. A generator had to be added to help with the load. In 1998, a new 400 amp electrical service was installed.