BURLINGTON, Ky. — "Lights on Tosha,” a holiday light show on Burlington homes featuring more than 25,000 bulbs and synchronized music, has dazzled thousands of visitors from around the Tri-State over the past three years.
As the light show has grown in popularity, so too have challenges for its neighbors -- so its organizer is taking it on the road after the display on Tosha Drive goes dark this Friday.
"Spending time with family and creating memories,” said David Draper, the man behind the lights and music. “We've started a tradition now that I have to stop. That's the part that's really hard.”
Laura Thompson and her daughter Jada were among the drivers who swung by the light show Monday night.
"Everyone is struggling this time of year,” Laura said. “This year in general. It's just nice to be able to give a little something back."
Roughly $1,500 in donations from Lights on Tosha are going to the Children's Home of Northern Kentucky, up from last year. The show has continued to grow in popularity -- Draper said they’ve seen upwards of 3,000 cars on weekends this year.
“With that comes some negativity,” he said. “We don't want that."
Recently, neighbors have complained about visitors littering, driving through yards and blocking driveways.
"It's very sad, not going to lie. It's my pride and joy. I spend a lot of hours on it. But the show will go on," he said.
Growing up, Draper said his vision was to bring his lights to a big audience, and he recently got the green-light to compete on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight,” a reality series featuring America’s best and brightest displays.
“We finally got the OK for filming in 2021, and then I had to say we’re unfortunately not doing the show,” he said. “That part truly was the hardest.”
Draper is still working on an outdoor replacement for next year at a different location, but he plans to make it 10 times bigger -- “go big or go home,” he says.
With Christmas 2020 in the rearview, the light show is about to come down until it finds a new location still to be, but families tell Draper they’ll hold onto the yuletide memories made in a year like no other.
"You can't put a price on it,” Draper said. “To hear the stories from you know, this is what Christmas means to them, and the joy that it brings during this time. That makes all the frustrating, stress, money, anything going on worth it."
The show ends on Friday, Jan. 1 at 11:45 p.m.