Celebrated Christmas Display Showman, Jennings Osborne, Died 7/27/11

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Jennings Osborne , known for his extravagant Christmas light displays, passed away July 27, 2011 in Little Rock, Arkansas at age 67. A wealthy Arkansas philanthropist, who made his money from starting and selling a medical research facility, Jennings Osborne transformed his home into a 3.2 million-light festival every December.

His Christmas decorations and lights brought joy to as many as 30,000 visitors annually and snarled traffic around his house for miles. The local power company wound up assigning Osborne his own transformer after he darkened part of his neighborhood when turning on his display. Pilots stated they could see Jennings Osbourne and his lighted house from 80 miles away! By 1993, the display grew to include over three million lights, two 80-foot Christmas-tree-shaped masts, a calliope, a carousel, a steam engine driven by Mickey Mouse, and a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year sign in letters six feet high.

Despite purchasing homes on both sides of his to minimize the impact to neighbors, they filed a suit in 1993 stating that his decorations were a public nuisance. He lost the lawsuit and had to remove most of his decorations. The Walt Disney Company, wanting to continue Osborne’s tradition, sent four 18-wheelers to pick up more than 2 million lights. Many of his decorations still shine every Christmas season in Orlando as part of the “Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.” Below are pictures of his house and Disney World.

Jennings Osborne Light Display

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