Thomas Apruzzi from New Jersey had a $2,000 fine per night imposed to cover the cost to the city for managing the hundreds of fans drawn to his Christmas decorations over the holidays.
Sometimes as many as a 1,000 people a night will come from far and wide to see Thomas’s breathtaking winter wonderland.
The Old Bridge resident has spent over $100,000 on his display that includes 70,000 cascading archways of light, sparkling trees, and floating snowflakes.
44-year-old Thomas started the display as a tribute to this late father, “Big Al,” a veteran and a big fan of Christmas, and elaborated on why he goes through so much trouble every year:
“Growing up I didn’t have much so my parents couldn’t do big celebrations. So I began this for my dad, and he loved it up until the day he died five years ago.”
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The fact that it's a gift that brings thousands of people Christmas cheer is a welcome bonus. Lisa Gold, a new neighbor, heard about the controversy over the fines and went to see for herself what the fuss was all about as she commented afterward:
“I was shocked; it’s so beautiful. So, I can’t see why someone would want to charge the owners for a free show.”
The town has had enough, and Thomas is not relenting. He insists he will not pay any ‘targeted’ fines and it is unclear what consequences Thomas will face if he doesn’t pay any penalties.
Thomas’s story prompted many to donate to his GoFundMe page and have already raised $5,000. Old Bridge Mayor, Owen Henry commented on the situation in the hopes that people will understand his perspective as he stated:
“My first and foremost duty as mayor is to make sure our residents are safe, and that’s why I have made sure we have adequate police coverage. These precautions do not come without an added cost.”
But Thomas will not give up and said, “The show will go on.” and plans on donating money raised to Home For Our Troops charity.
In a similar case, Jeremy Morris took his homeowners association to court after they told him to get rid of his Christmas lights displayed on his home.
Jeremy took the association to court in 2015 after they threatened to block his display and finally came out the victor after a 4-year battle.
On a Christmas related note, retailers have noticed an increase for unusual colored Christmas trees this year.
The primary color of interest is a black, as the E-commerce company, Wayfair said there had been a 70% increase in site searches for black Christmas trees this year.
The new holiday craze of having a black Christmas tree was also mirrored on Instagram as the hashtag #blackChristmasTree got used almost 9,000 times this season.
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