FERRIER FILES: Brentwood man ends 35-year Christmas light display
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. —
The incredible one-man Christmas show on Sunnyside Drive in Brentwood is in its final year.
It's an amazing 35-year-old Middle Tennessee tradition with 90,000 Christmas lights and 275 figures around a cul-de-sac in Brentwood.
“It is an experience," Bill Minneci said. "If you can't walk up my driveway and walk back down and not be excited about Christmas, something is really wrong!"
Six weeks of prep, three weeks of actual stringing lights, everything done by 72-year-old Bill Minneci.
"It is just a magical emotion you get through this," Minneci. "I have enjoyed it all these years. When you’re a kid, all these bright lights, it is magic and I’ve kept that."
He has kept Christmas. This man, who has been giving up his driveway and any privacy for an entire month every year for 35 years.
“It's true, and it doesn't bother me at all," Minneci said. "It is going to be difficult next Christmas for me not going down here."
There is no dramatic reason for ending the tradition. Minneci just decided 35 years is enough. He started the display with his son B.J.
When B.J. died in a car accident at age 16, Minneci decided this would be a tribute to his son. He would grow it every year as a way to keep his son's memory in lights.
It's reason to talk about B.J. because dead children are not an easy topic.
“Nobody wants to talk about them," Minneci said. "We like to hear their names, and this is my way making sure he is remembered and spending a month with him every year."
A donation box has been stuffed with $68,000 over the years. It all goes to Shriner's Hospital. All Minneci keeps to himself is the electric bill.
“God bless him and what a memory he is carrying on for his son, and the memory...it’s just beautiful,” Jill Ivey said.
Sunnyside lights will be open every evening from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. until the New Year.