CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- Some residents in Cape Coral may be skipping out on a holiday tradition this year, as the Planet Monkman Christmas synchronized light display takes a break.
Neil Monkman and his wife Stella created the display back in 2007 and the lights and music have attracted thousands every year. However, this holiday season, the house which was once decorated with the lights is bare. "There is no synchronized light show this year, unfortunately," said Monkman.
The couple moved out of the neighborhood and into a different house in January 2016. Their new house is still in the Cape, but is not configured to handle all the lights yet. Therefore, they will not be having their annual show.
Several people in the neighborhood where the show was previously held told Fox 4 they were relieved that the display is gone because it caused major traffic throughout the month of December. On the other hand, some miss the spectacle. "I know some of the neighbors are probably happy that they're not here, but I'm definitely not one of them. We definitely enjoy it," said Jim Kelly. "Chilly nights we have the fire pit out here and the kids would sell hot chocolate."
Families return to the display year after year. In fact, they continue riding through the neighborhood looking for it. "Even still, last night I came out and had ten cars coming up and down, and cars rolling their window down going 'what happened to the display?'" said Kelly.
So will the spirit of Christmas live on in Cape Coral? Neil Monkman told Fox 4 they won't have their display running this year, but holiday hopefuls can expect it at their new home in 2017. "We just want to let people know we're still in the Cape and we're taking a break, but we will be back in 2017 and hopefully we'll be bigger than we were before," he said.
In the mean time, the Monkmans have a much smaller display at their new home, located at 1938 NE 20th Street.
Although the family puts the display on every year for free, they do take donations for the Retired Law Enforcement Association of SWFL. They use the money to buy protective vests for K-9 officers.