Christmas Light Show in Wall stages comeback after 2-year absence
WALL — Every year since 2011, What's So Great About the Garden State has featured The Christmas Light Show, a large-scale, "Disney-quality" production with lights, fog, lasers, and pyrotechnics all synchronized to Christmas music. That is, until 2017, when disputes between the township and the event's organizers reached a tipping point.
Dan Brateris helped start the show in 2005, and said the disagreements centered on whether it could remain feasible and safe at its previously established location as it continued to grow in popularity year after year. Cost was also a concern, although Brateris said the price tag has been more than $10,000 just to move the attraction to its new destination, The All New McCann's at Spring Meadow Golf Course.
But that is where, on the nights of Dec. 7, 14, and 15, The Christmas Light Show will return to Wall after two years away. Brateris said there was no show at all in 2017, and while there was something on a smaller scale last year, it was just a private gathering.
The unique challenge presented by this relaunch is that in its old location, Brateris said elements were progressively added to the show with each passing year. Now, in a nonstop, two-month process, organizers have had to build almost from the bottom up.
Still, this will be a recognizable experience for anyone who remembers what came before.
"If they've been a fan of the show in the past, you're going to see a show that has the same spirit and feel to it, but it will be a new show in a new location," Brateris said.
Once again, The Christmas Light Show is free to attend but donations are encouraged. Those donations benefit, as in the past, Middletown-based RallyCap Sports — formerly known as Challenged Youth Sports — which runs sports leagues for children with disabilities at as low a cost to their families as possible.
Brateris hopes to cut RallyCap a check for $25,000 at the end of the year.
"We don't check, but the show is free," Brateris said, laughing. "But we say, if you come in as an individual we'd love if you give $10, and if you're coming as a family, we'd love if you'd give $25 or more."
Charity is just part of the mission of The Christmas Light Show. The rest, according to Brateris, is to provide family-focused Christmas entertainment. Now part of that entertainment is the involvement of McCann's restaurant, which will essentially close down on the nights of the show but be a dining option for those attending ... if they make reservations, which Brateris said are filling up fast.
For more, go to thechristmaslightshow.com.
Patrick Lavery is Senior Producer of Morning News and Special Programming for New Jersey 101.5, and is lead reporter and substitute anchor for "New Jersey's First News." Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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