Sly’s Magical Light Show returns to Brecksville this holiday season

by Martin McConnell

Sly Robakowski’s annual Christmas light show at 6712 Mill Rd. has become a staple of Cleveland light tours over the past few years. This winter, the show will return, bigger and better than ever.

Robakowski, 23, has been operating the show, nicknamed “Sly’s Magical Light Show,” since 2019. His fascination started with the ABC television show, “The Great Christmas Light Fight,” and the show has grown into its own from there.

“All this started when I watched ‘The Great Christmas Light Fight,’” Robakowski said. “There was one house on the show that had Christmas lights timed to music, and I was like, ‘That is so cool. I have to do something like that!’”

Since then, Robakowski has been building the show and making it more intricate each holiday season. He estimates that since 2019, he has spent about $5,000 on the light display. In addition to timing the show to music using the radio station 96.9 FM, Robakowski also features visual elements on a 20-foot tall “mega tree” made of lights.

The show is run through a computer program known as xLights, which works as a design workshop. Using the program, Robakowski can assign moving visual effects to his lights, as well as sync them up to music or movie scenes, such as “A Christmas Story,” as he did in 2021.

“I’ve added little trees, singing bulbs, arches, an LED sign and I bought multiple controllers,” Robakowski said. “And then from 2021, I wanted to make the tree bigger [from 10 feet to 20 feet].”

Robakowski has a background in working as a local theatre lighting technician, which made the jump to a Christmas light show relatively easy. He has high hopes for the future of his show, and hopes to eventually run a light display for the city of Brecksville.

“If I can convince the other neighbors to let me put a show on their house, that’s an idea I have in my head,” Robakowski said. “[I want to do] a display for the city, probably at Blossom Hill, and have a show there. I’m open to the idea.”

Robakowski mentioned that with enough technical knowledge, anyone can run this kind of show. Above all else, he wants to bring the holiday spirit to Brecksville in any way that he can.

“I do this just because I love bringing joy to the community. I love seeing everybody’s faces when they’re excited by this,” Robakowski said. “It brings me joy to see everybody enjoying this show that I put my time and effort into.” The light show is featured nightly from 5:30-10 p.m. beginning the weekend of Thanksgiving and will run though Jan. 1.

Brecksville resident Sly Robakowski’s holiday light display is timed to music and features visual elements on a 20-foot tall tree made of lights. Photo submitted.