By LEGION TAYLOR
Jerry Boler has yet again set up a magnificent Christmas light display in front of his home at 6 Cardinal Ct. in Songbird, complete with a radio station and a photo booth where anyone can come and get pictures with Santa, the Grinch, or Olaf the snowman.
Boler began putting up these large displays in 2013, when his grandson, who was 4 at the time, told him “Papaw, you need a Christmas tree bigger than your house.” He took that advice to heart, so he and his grandson built a frame out of wood, planted it in his yard, decorating it with Christmas lights and a star on top.
The large tree and the glowing reindeer he set up got him put in a tabloid for all the impressive displays around Leon and Wakulla counties, but he didn’t stop there. He learned how to link the light displays to music from friends who also had large Christmas displays, and set up his own radio station (FM 88.5) so that people could come by and listen to music while they watched the light show.
Over time, Boler decided to add more than just light displays, putting up a Penguin roller coaster and a toy train in his yard as well.
Each year, the display grows and improves, all in the hope that it’ll make even more people happy. This year, the addition was to be a large Ferris wheel, but due to weather and his own sickness, he has had some trouble getting it assembled. Next year he plans to reconstruct and improve the roller coaster, increasing its size and grandeur from what it is this year.
In 2018, he set up a large inflatable snowman in his driveway, to encourage people to get out of their cars and see the display up close. That spiraled into taking “Ten thousand pictures each Christmas” as more and more people wanted photos with them and their kids in front of his light display.
To make this easier, he bought a small photo booth, and has hired actors to be characters such as Santa and the Grinch, allowing visitors to take pictures with them entirely free of charge.
Boler has seen people from all over the country and even international visitors stop by his display on their way through the county, and is even talking with ABC about doing a possible interview sometime soon.
Boler says he “Does it for the kids, the parents who bring the kids, and anyone who just likes looking at Christmas lights.”
He expressed that this is supposed to be a season of giving, and this display lets him give thousands of people a little bit more happiness each year, and that seeing people smile at his display is exactly why he does this every holiday season.