Newman, who has a background in sound engineering
and nightclub production and now owns a DVD duplication company, says
the show routinely draws at least 500 people on weekends, and crowds of
200 to 300 each weekday during its approximately six-week run from
Thanks giving to the new year.
The un-neighborly fight over Christmas has been
well-publicized in Boca Raton, but it hasn’t diminished crowds in
search of Christmas cheer.
The show is so well-known that a local radio
station broadcasts its soundtrack during the height of the Christmas
“People have come out of the woodwork in support
of what I’m doing and think this is absolutely ridiculous,” Newman
said. “This isn’t the hugest display in the world. This
is just lights done to music and people like it.”
While the city’s concerns over Newman’s antics
in October centered on whether his “Thriller” dances violated
neighborhood code ordinances – they backed down only at the last
minute after Newman agreed not to stage live performances at future
shows – this time, officials say, Newman’s show is fine, but his
neighbor’s actions are not.
“He told police he would remove the barriers but
instead reinforced them this past weekend,” Newman said, referring to
his neighbor, who has remained anonymous in the fight.
“The barricades are on the public swale so
people cannot pull over to watch the show,” Newman said.
“Their [the city's] only concern right now is that the neighbors,
because of what they did, created a parking hazard.”
Calls to Boca Raton city officials for comment
have yet to be returned.
The neighbor who placed the barricades around
Newman’s home hasn’t lived in his home for three years while it
undergoes renovation, according to Newman.
The neighbor has not spoken publicly about his
actions, choosing to wage his Christmas battle in the street, not the
Adding to the drama, and public’s interest, is
Newman’s using his annual displays to raise money for the Make-A-Wish
He raised nearly $2,000 during this year’s
Halloween display alone that featured the “Thriller” performances.
That was more than the $1,400 he collected for last year’s Halloween
and Christmas displays combined.
“All this is going to do is hurt the kids who
come here and the ones who aren’t fortunate enough to be able to make
it here,” Newman said.