Scott Schneider admires the fountains at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. He now has a mini-version in his front yard -- with a holiday twist.
The 41-year-old West Richland man spent months designing and building a dancing fountain, complete with shooting water and lights. It's synced to Owl City's Peppermint Winter and will run at nighttime through New Year's Eve at 539 N. 59th St.
Schneider wanted to be the first in the Tri-Cities to do a computerized Christmas light display, but others beat him to it, he said. He blazed a new trail, however, with the dancing fountain.
"I'm not into, (I need to have) more lights than you do or something. I just like to be different," he told the Herald. "And I decided that I need to pick something different to build."
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Schneider ran tests and tried out different materials. He even called the design firm behind the Bellagio fountains. He said he spent less than $700 to build his creation.
"The idea behind this is I had to have something that was portable, (that) could be easily taken down and put away for the winter. And of course (I) had to build (it) to survive in freezing weather. Then from that point on, it was kind of like how fancy can I make it?" he said.
In the daylight, the "it" looks a little odd. Three 18-inch-by-8-foot kiddie pools -- each holds about 400 gallons of water -- sit side-by-side, filled with jets and LED lights.
At night, it transforms into a flashing, jumping, dancing light and water show.
A white board on Schneider's front porch lists the radio station passersby can dial up to hear the Owl City song as the water leaps around. (Most neighbors wouldn't like a blaring sound system, Schneider said.)
A standard home PC runs the show. Schneider works as a freelance computer tech and described himself as a self-taught electrical engineer. His enthusiasm for Christmas and his love of electronics melded together for the project, he said.
A video on YouTube shows the display.
He's not stopping with this year's show. Schneider said he'll "definitely" do it again next year -- and he plans to make the fountain even better.
"I'd like to also pop a couple laminar jets in there," Schneider said, standing at the front of his house, by the fountain he built. "And I'm looking at even a laser light show with it as well."
-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; email@example.com