The marvel of Mechanicsville

After his mother passed away in 2020, Bryan Rubner started decorating the exterior of the house with extra Christmas lights. Initially, it was a tribute to her and the memories he had of putting up lights for her during the holiday season. Now it’s expanded to a passion project that has become one of the most unique holiday light displays in Iowa.

Bryan Rubner being interviewed by a local TV station in front of his creation in Mechanicsville, Iowa. Photo submitted by Stacy Rubner.
Each of the crafted decorations has lights that can be controlled. Photo from Bryan Rubner.

What makes this display so special?

There are three reasons why this display is unique.

It’s measured in pixels.

At the Rubner home, it’s all about pixels. About 75,000 of them in total. Each pixel is a unique point where they can control the color and intensity. Basically, it’s a large electronic canvas where Rubner can create his own masterpieces.

Decorations are created – not purchased

The display has 80 to 90 decorations or props that have embedded lights, which are predominately made, not store-purchased. Rubner designs and creates the decorations using his 3D printers. This enables him to create exactly what is needed. The centerpiece of the display is the megatree located in the middle of the yard. The tree is 15 feet tall and was created from components that were designed and printed from his four 3D printers.

It’s set to music

In total, 15 different songs create a 37-minute rotation or show. During this 37-minute show, Bryan has control over what each pixel does. Turn your car to 87.9 FM to hear the music, along with a tribute from Bryan for his mother.

How much time did it take to create this?

According to Bryan, he has put in at least 2,000 hours on this year’s display.

YouTube video
A short video showing the lights and sounds from the Rubner House in Mechanicsville, Iowa. Video from Bryan Rubner.
Some examples of the decorations that were created and then had lights embedded.
The centerpiece of the display is the “mega tree” which can used to create images such as this snowman. Photo from Bryan Rubner.

Close-up of the mega tree that serves as the centerpiece. Photo from Bryan Rubner.
One of the 3D printers hard at work creating components for the display. Photo from Bryan Rubner.
Sorry, but this stuff is way beyond what Clark Griswold could handle. It’s a set of controllers that helps run the display. enabling Rubner to control each pixel of the display. Photo from Bryan Rubner.
The controllers are then placed in weatherproof boxes and then connected to each decoration. Photo from Bryan Rubner.
YouTube video
Video provided by Bryan Rubner, showcasing the lights and sounds from his holiday lights display in Mechanicsville, Iowa. Video from Bryan Rubner.

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