Usually the crowd gets heavy in the days leading up to Christmas, where the wait can be an hour and a half, with cars secured for miles, a phenomenon that baffles Mr. Gay, an engineer. “Why would anyone do that? I'd turn around right away, "said Mr. Gay, who uses the popularity of his home to raise funds for various charities and raise more than $ 400,000 over the years. "I hate waiting for anything."
This year, hundreds of cars gathered on the weekend after Thanksgiving. Around 500 vehicles visited on a Thursday evening at the beginning of December. By mid-December there were thousands of cars a night and local police officers helped direct the traffic. "I think people are just trying to strengthen themselves a little in this difficult year," said Gay. "It was such a dark year that a bright display gets even brighter."
This may be a banner year for lights, but for those who live alongside the boldest of displays, a solid month of celebration can be a bit much. James Spica, 62, who lives across from Mr. Gay's property, has an unobstructed view of a display from his bedroom window that compares it to the Las Vegas Strip. "I'm in the forest with deer, foxes, and hawks, it's beautiful," he said of his 9-acre property, which he moved to from the Bronx 30 years ago. "When I look out the other window, I see the Macy & # 39; s Day parade, it's quite different."
For the past two years, Mr. Spica has been away on vacation, one year in Barcelona and another year on a yoga retreat. But this year he's tied to his homeland because of the pandemic and dreading the light show accompanied by a musical soundtrack synchronized with the changing lights. Visitors set their VHF dials to a low-power radio station programmed by the Gay family that plays the recorded music to which the lights are choreographed. Mr. Spica can hear cars open their windows to get a better view of the show.
"I don't want to be the Grinch who stole Christmas," said Mr. Spica, who has retired from a career in telecommunications. "It must make some people happy to see this ridiculous thing, but it doesn't make me happy."
"The neighbors are divided, a lot of them love it," said Betsy Maas, the Union Vale city overseer, noting all of the money raised for local charities. "But the traffic is a pain in the neck."