From traffic jam to tradition; Lyn Askin is the man behind 'A Christmas in Crowley'
CROWLEY - Lyn Askin and his family moved to Crowley almost 10 years ago. Askin, the CEO of RAXXAR Technologies which he runs out of his printing office just south of the Crowley Court Circle, seems to be a modest man. But to others he is “the computer genius that gave city officials the idea for ‘Christmas in Crowley: A Holiday Affair’.”
Now entering it’s fourth year, the event has grown steadily each holiday season.
“The first year we had 10,000 lights, then we had 20,000 the second,” said Crowley Tourism Director Charlotte Jeffers. “Last year, when we decorated the Acadia Parish Courthouse I asked Lyn how many lights we were using so I could tell people and he said, ‘Around 50,000 Charlotte, but do you really think anyone is going to count them?’.”
The event, which will be held on December 5 this year, includes a live radio broadcast from Crowley City Hall on 93.3 FM which plays Christmas carols that the lights are synchronized to look as though they are dancing to. Then, each corner just south of the courthouse one may find such Christmas traditions as a nativity scene to a church choir singing carols.
Aside from the number of lights, to give one an idea of how much the event has grown the number of carols being played from city hall’s broadcast has grown from four the first year to “15 or 16 this year,” according to Askin.
The size of the crowds has been a great indicator as well.
“Last year we had people from Florida, Alabama, Arkansas and nearly all the cities in the area such as Eunice, Lafayette, Rayne and Jennings,” said Jeffers.
How Crowley’s Christmas tradition, which can be viewed by typing in “Christmas in Crowley” on Facebook or YouTube, got started is a funny story that Askin couldn’t help smile about when he told it.
“When we first moved here we did the same thing, on a much smaller scale of course, at our house,” said Askin. “It really became much bigger than I thought it would and soon we had traffic lined up down our street.
“I was worried about upsetting the neighbors but they were always really nice. “Or at least they pretended to be when I spoke with them.”
Perhaps the people of Crowley soon became a little too friendly with the Askin’s residence during the holiday season.
“I walked outside one night and there were two ladies in my front yard sitting in lawn chairs and drinking a bottle of wine,” laughed Askin. “That’s when I thought that ‘this may be getting too big’.”
However, Askin had no intentions of stopping his family’s (wife Abby and son Grant) tradition. In fact, he decided to share it with the citizens of the town he had moved to. He also decided to make it bigger - much bigger.
“I spoke with Mitzi Lejeune once who set up a meeting with Charlotte an (Crowley Mayor Greg Jones) about doing something downtown and they thought it was a good idea,” he said.
As the old cliché goes “the rest is history.”
The event is now sponsored by around a dozen downtown businesses and to listen to Jeffers describe it her dream is to have it “go all the way to the interstate.”
“I’d like to see more businesses take part and I think eventually, once they see how big this is getting, they hopefully will,” she said.
Askin seems as though his dream has already come through, though he has a goal.
“I hope to make it snow in Crowley,” he said.
When asked how this seemingly impossible task would become a reality, Askin displayed on his computer a snow machine that he said he would love to place on the top of Crowley’s City Hall “if the weather gets cold enough.”
Askin also seems no different than any other person when it comes to “The Season of Giving.”
“My biggest joy is watching the people’s faces when they drive by and see the lights,” he said. “To know that I have contributed some happiness to someone else’s Christmas makes me feel really good inside. This is a really special time of year for my family.
“I know that sounds kind of corny.”
Suffice it to say the city of Crowley disagrees.