You've probably seen the video of that Prince-themed "Purple Rain" Christmas lights display.
Here's the Prince portion:
What you might not know is the good the Staudt family is trying to do with the display, after a scary incident with their son's open-heart surgery last year.
"My son did have a few complications during surgery that kind of tripled or quadrupled his stay at Children’s [Hospital in Minneapolis]," Mike Staudt told GoMN. "And we weren’t very prepared for that."
The surgery and the stay
A heart murmur is what gave it away.
Doctors discovered the heart murmur in Caleb – Mike and Kelly's 6-year-old son – in December of 2015. Follow-ups led to a diagnosis of Atrial Septum Defect, and in March, open-heart surgery, the family's YouCaring page explains.
The procedure is about as routine as you can get for open-heart surgery, Mike Staudt said. But he had a form of brain stroke during the surgery that severely impacted control of his left arm. And afterward he suffered a partially collapsed lung.
This led to 11 days in the hospital for Caleb and the family.
"We weren’t prepared for the long stay, and I guess we didn’t really have our head around what this surgery kind of was going to entail to the degree that it did with the complications," Mike Staudt said.
Ronald McDonald House
Which is why the Ronald McDonald House one floor below was such a savior for them.
"Ronald McDonald House just took us in and gave us some comfort, and really helped us kind of in our time of need," Mike Staudt said.
It gave the family space when visitors came. Let them have a place to eat. Let them meet other families going through similar things, where they could support each other and exchange information.
"So I just was so impressed with the people I met there, the volunteers, the organization, and the other families there. It just really helped us out," Mike Staudt said.
Raising money to give back
Two years ago, the first time the Staudts did the Christmas lights things, it was a trial run. No computer programming (which they do now). They wanted to see what happened, and basically got one or two cars an hour coming to look.
But with Caleb's ordeal, they knew they wanted to do more.
"He loves Christmas lights, he loves any holiday and the decorations that are associated with it, he gets so excited," Mike Staudt said. "And he was kind of my motivation and our family’s motivation to go a little crazy this year."
In addition to the thousands of flashing lights and 14 minutes of coordinated music, the Staudts wanted to find a way to give back.
So they're trying to raise money for Ronald McDonald House – the goal is $500, and the Staudts will match up to that amount. But of course they'd be thrilled if donations go above that.
"The dollars are going to an absolutely great cause, and you’re helping families and you’re helping young children," Mike Staudt said. "And to me that’s what the holiday season is all about. It’s about the magic that you see in kids, and that kind of resonates with us and why we do the light show."
Caleb by the way – doing well. He's been able to regain most of the function in his arm, and all his follow-ups since then have been good, Mike Staudt said.
Where to see the show
The show is in Chaska, at 3850 Pascolo Bend.
Each light show is a little over 14 minutes long, and shows run every 20 minutes.
Sunday through Thursday it's from 5:40-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday it's from 5:40-9:40 p.m. There's a 6-minute intermission between each show.
"To get the full experience, try to arrive 3-5 minutes before the next show time," the show's Facebook page says. "The show was programmed with an opening, middle, and closing medley that is best viewed beginning to end."