Old Bridge Christmas light were huge. They’ll be bigger elsewhere
A holiday lights display has been transplanted from its Old Bridge roots to the Middlesex County fairgrounds, with promises of the attraction being bigger than ever.
After years of setting up what grew to become a 70,000-light display at his Central Avenue home, Thomas Apruzzi said to New Jersey 101.5 News that all permits are secured and setup had started over the weekend at the fairgrounds in East Brunswick.
The newly named Winter Wonderlights Spectacular, sponsored by Apruzzi's own company, TA Sprinkler Inc. along with Pixel Sequencing, will involve about a million lights, according to Apruzzi. He said that's eight to 10 times larger than the display he had been setting up at his own house.
The display had been in jeopardy in 2018, as township officials had presented Apruzzi and his wife with a $2,000-per-night bill, to pay for extra police needed to patrol the event as it drew heavy traffic on the residential road.
Last year “was somewhat of a nightmare, but we got through it," Apruzzi said to NJ 101.5. He also said "I understand the Mayor’s point of view too and I understand the point of view of the neighbors," but Apruzzi said it was the way the situation unfolded that made it so contentious.
In Nov. 2018, a plan to keep Apruzzi's street open did come together just as the display went live for the season, as Mayor Owen Henry told MyCentralJersey.com an emergency appropriation would have to be approved to pay for coverage.
Apruzzi said to NJ 101.5 that he had always wanted to make the display bigger — but that would mean spreading things out and needing a bigger venue.
With the bigger space comes more expenses and so there now is an admission fee for visitors.
Apruzzi said it will cost $7 per adult to enter, $5 for kids, veterans and first responders, and
"infants are free."
Apruzzi uses RGB pixels, which are “digitally-controllable lights you can set to any color, or animate,” as explained online by Adafruit Industries, a hardware company that specializes in such devices. He said at his house, he used to set up nearly 100,000 pixels, while the fairgrounds display will feature 225,000 pixels, which converts into 600,000 lights on their own.
He said the expanded display will include nine "mega trees," a Candy Cane Lane section, a section celebrating Hanukkah, featuring menorahs, and a veterans' observance section, with American flags, stars and other symbolic images.
“Too many things to run through — It’s gonna be so awesome,” Apruzzi said.
The Winter Wonderlights Spectacular is slated to run at 655 Cranbury Rd. in East Brunswick from Nov. 30 through Dec. 29, daily from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
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