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Vandalism and theft dampen holiday spirit in Rocky Mountain House

Christmas lights will shine a little less brightly at one Rocky Mountain House display this year.

Duane Iceton won’t allow public access to the display he and wife Sheryl have done for about six years on their acreage in the town’s McNutt subdivision.

“I’m not going to have people walk through this year,” he said, “I have 50,000 lights up already, but it will only be drive through.”

Vandals and thieves changed the couple’s sharing attitude last year. Iceton said some visitors damaged displays while others monopolized the inner tubes used to ride the slide. A few even stole the inner tubes.

“I’m a huge Christmas guy, but I was ready to shut it down Boxing Day,” Iceton lamented.

“That’s the unfortunate thing: most people are really good, but there’s a few who aren’t. I don’t get it.”

Alfred von Hollen, who opens his and wife Cheryl’s yard for their 21st annual Christmas light display on Dec. 1, knows Iceton’s discouragement.

“I understand his reluctance. We went through that about five years ago. I’ve had display pieces stolen, things broken, people with cigarettes burn inflatables,” said the retired teacher.

“That’s the way the world is. We don’t let .01 per cent ruin it for the rest.”

Visitors walking the Von Hollen’s backyard trails will see large trees gone, removed to make way for more summer sunlight. Taking their places are new displays courtesy of friends in Arizona and an Onoway company that closed its warehouse.

About 110,000 LED lights illuminate front and back their two-storey wood home at 5725 57th St. Close.

The light display is open to the public from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. until Dec. 28.

Food bank donations are appreciated.



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