Walter Schalk has owned the Walter Schalk School of Dance for 56 years. With generations of students under his tutelage, some refer to him as the “Grandaddy of Dance.”
The school, based out of Wilton, CT, has programs all throughout Fairfield County. The school just recently put on it’s annual “Holiday Spectacular,” featuring students from grades first through twelfth who, together, performed 27 acts. In keeping with the holiday spirit and as a way to say thank you to the community for their business and their eagerness to learn, Schalk donned his home in a wonderful display of lights. He calls it, “Wally’s Wonderland,” named after his jack russel, Wally.
The veteran dancer and teacher is, if anything, ambitious. The annual display started over ten years ago with one Christmas tree, and each year the display grew, requiring more and more electrical systems. Now, lights cover the railings, dozens of candy canes appear near the roof, and more Christmas trees have popped up. After the lights made their way to the bushes, the gazebo by the water got enough decorations to cover a front porch.
From afar, Schalk’s home looks bright and festive enough to be in a theme park. The difference being that Schalk’s display can be enjoyed free of charge.
“It’s a way of giving back to the community,” he said. “I get a a kick because the kids really enjoy it.”
It started off with a tree and grew to be a star attraction.