East Vancouver family bids farewell to city's most festive house

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An East Vancouver family renowned for celebrating everything festive and bright is bidding a fond farewell to their home of nearly 40 years the only way they know how: with a big and colourful display in the front yard.

The Pedersen/Ballard house at the corner of 12th Avenue and Semlin Drive is a holiday institution, decked out at Christmas, Halloween, Easter, St. Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day and Canada Day — to name just the big ones — and appreciated by thousands of neighbours and commuters each year.

But with the house now sold and new owners poised to move in, a goodbye letter and sign have appeared in the yard —accompanied, of course, by a giant inflatable Frankenstein's monster.

"It's been an amazing four decades," reads the letter. "Stay festive and remember to celebrate everything!" 

Erik Pedersen, 43, says his blended family of six moved into the house when he was four years old.

He says they always marked the holidays with lots of decorations, but things went to the next level when he moved back into the basement suite eight years ago.

"When I started doing most of the outside decorating, people would stop by and say thank you,'' he said. "It's so nice and an amazing feeling."

Pedersen says the high cost of rent makes it unlikely that he and his parents will stay in the neighbourhood.

"We're going to miss this a lot," he said. "It's a great neighbourhood and location and because we have the corner lot ... we had all that room to put up a great display."

Their search for a new home is ongoing but has one non-negotiable: enough room for at least a portion of their decorations.

"We keep that as part of our process when we're looking for places," he said. "After 40 years, it's part of who we are and what we do."