City Works to Embrace Christmas Light Enthusiasts

Finally! A good-news story of a city working to keep a tradition of Christmas lights alive. The Grand Haven Tribune reported over the weekend on a move of a popular Christmas light destination from a residential area to a better situated public area for a light display that drew more than 60,000 people last year from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Brad Boyink, the technical adviser to the Musical Fountain Committee, created the light display and operated it at his home on Heather Court in Spring Lake Township for the first time last year. He estimated around 60,000 people visited the display between Thanksgiving and when he cut it off in late December. He said donations during the show’s five-week run resulted in $20,038 that Boyink gave to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan.

While the donations made the show a success, Boyink said, the high traffic it brought to his neighborhood created a safety problem and he decided it needed a more public location.

“It really needed to be under a city’s control because of the liability issue, having a better location to expand, and it made the most logical choice being under the Musical Fountain Committee because they already deal with (a similar) production,” Boyink said, referring to the summerlong fountain show run from Dewey Hill.

Boyink is donating $5,000 worth of computer equipment and lights from his display for the city show. But the 20,600 LED (light emitting diode) lights used in Boyink’s home show is just a start — a total of 140,000 lights on six 40-foot towers are planned for the 2007 show on Harbor Island, Jonas said, with potential increases in the future. A new light show program will be done each year.

“It still requires council approval because it’s on city property,” he said. “We anticipate we’ll get that approval Monday night.”

We applaud the city of Grand Haven and the many individuals and organizations in that community who are working together in the Spirit of Christmas.

Since Christmas 2006 we have reported on incidents of everything from violence in neighborhoods to City governments being mean spirited and grinch-like in their denial of Christmas light displays. It is refreshing to hear media reports of a community cooperating together to bring about a Christmas light display that is safe, respectful of the surroundings and fun for those who enjoy lights during the season.  

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