LAGRANGEVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – What started as a bright idea to celebrate the holidays has turned into a world record.

As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, a Dutchess County homeowner has broken the record for the most holiday lights on residential property.

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Engineer Timothy Gay said he started hanging up lights outside his Lagrangeville home on Patrick Drive when his daughter was born in 1995.

He says what started as 600 lights has since grown to 601,736 lights and figures outside his home.

And the display features not just lights, but vistas of color and shapes that stretch out across the pond, into the woods, and up in the branches above.

“Oh my God. It’s beautiful. It’s beautiful,” Said Eva Leonard of Cold Spring.

“There’s nothing like this, I think, in probably the entire world,” said Jesse Marshal of Hopewell Junction. “We’ve been coming for the past four, five-plus years – absolutely amazing. We love it; I mean, it’s a tradition. This my sister-in-law, my wife, all our kids bundle in the car; enjoy it thoroughly.”

Gay says he choreographed the light show to music, which spectators can enjoy by tuning to the local FM radio station 93.5 as they watch the display.

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“My sons and I choreograph the music. We’ve done now 210 songs, each song takes 10 to 35 hours to do,” Timothy Gay said.

“This absolutely absorbs our entire holiday season. It’s so much fun,” Grace Gay said.

The family has been putting up a light display every year since 1995, but it became a contender for the Guinness Book of World Records only in 2012.

The display won the world record two years ago, then lost the title to a family in Australia. The Gay family received a donation of 180,000 lights from Ritz Crackers that put them back on top this year.

The holiday display is all for charity – inspired by three close family members who all died of cancer in the span of three years.

Carloads of visitors stop and give donations to the Union Vale Fire Department for distribution to local causes. They expect to raise $30,000 this holiday season.

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