Christmas light controversy in Montgomery neighborhood

Published: Dec. 17, 2011 at 3:24 AM CST
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It is not unusual to see a crowd in front of Thyno Zgouvas' house.

"We come out every year. It's probably the best show in town," says one passerby.

For eight years Zgouvas has wowed folks with 70,000 blinking lights.

This Christmas, that number was cut in half.

"The homeowner's association decided that it was a nuisance--which I completely disagree with," says Zgouvas.

But other residents--like Terry Phillips--raised concerns about the amount of traffic the show brings to the neighborhood.

"I've come home sometimes and it's taken me 30-45 minutes to get to my house."

Others worried it would be difficult for emergency vehicles to find homes because of it.

Zgouvas downsized the show to appease the homeowner's association--all the while making a point of his own with HOA signs and blow-up grinch figures behind them.

"They've blown it way out of proportion, I feel," says Zgouvas.

Each year Mr. Zgouvas puts music to his light show and all you have to do is turn up your radio. He says he does it to keep music from blaring out into the neighborhood.  This year, it's the theme to the Grinch.

"I have to take my stand just because it's Christmas lights," he says.

"I just think it's a shame for bashing the homeowner's association for some of the things they've stood up for," adds Phillips.

Phillips says he isn't against the Christmas lights, but thinks the neighborhood drama has gotten out of hand.

13-year old Caroline Mullikin stands behind the show.

"I wrote a letter to Thyno and told him I miss his lights and told him I hope he can do them next year."

He wrote back.

"Dear Caroline...thank you for your sweet note. I cannot tell you how happy I am that I have such great support," says Caroline reading Mr. Zgouvas' note.

For now, the modified show goes on--despite this longtime Christmas spectacle's uncertain future.

The homeowner's association President says he feels it is unfair for the association to be labeled as grinches--especially since the group has supported the show for many years.

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