The drama over one man’s Christmas lights display is back, but for a very different reason. Bill Ansell’s yard in Ross Township, Pennsylviania was transformed every holiday season into something so spectacular it drew large crowds. But some neighbors got angry over all the extra traffic on the street from people who came to enjoy the lights. Something was said, feelings were hurt and now there is more controversy than ever.
The display this year is very different. It contains a Santa Claus with a traffic cone on his head, a Santa Claus that appears to be urinating, the Virgin Mary knocked to the ground and a snowman being run over. There are also trash bags, toy cars upside down, and carolers knocked sideways.
“I’m frightened for the children who drive by up there. I think it’s immoral what he did to Santa Claus,” said one woman who did not want her name used.
Debbie Cincala lives in Pine Township, and stopped to check out the display because she remembers what it used to be like. She was very surprised to find how it looks now: “I think he’s angry. It seems like he’s angry and bitter and maybe doing something the opposite of what he used to do unfortunately.”
Ansell has a sign up that reads: “Display shut down by Ross Township.” But Township Manager Wayne Jones says that’s not the case.
“We are not prohibiting him from having his annual Christmas lights display. He has had it for a number of years, and we have not ever tried to stop him from having it,” Jones said.
No one answered the door at Ansell’s home, and no one answered the phone, but he did speak to us in 2005 when some neighbors complained about the traffic his display caused.
“I’m not real happy this had to go this far, but you can’t make everybody happy I guess,” said Ansell.
Jones says Ansell is suing the township in federal court for harassment. He says police have cited Ansell for parking violations, and he was recently ordered to remove a tarp that blocked the line of sight for drivers.