Jennings Osborne, known for his extravagant Christmas Display of lights, 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.
What began as a 1,000 light Christmas display for his six year old daughter kept getting bigger and bigger every year until he had strung millions of lights!
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’s Christmas Display and his lighted house from 80 miles away!
By 1993, it 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. The lights were on for 35 days to allow the greatest number of visitors to travel to see them, and the lights were known to twinkle from sunset to midnight every night.
Unfortunately, despite purchasing homes on both sides of his to minimize the impact to neighbors, they filed a lawsuit stating that his decorations were a public nuisance. He lost the battle and the courts cut down the Christmas display time down to 15 days and 3 ½ hours, then forced him 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.” This Christmas Display at Walt Disney World makes every top ten list of Christmas lights and has paved the way for other small towns to get on the map as a destination for the holidays. He left behind a legacy that will never be forgotten.
Top 5 Favorite Christmas Display of Lights
If you are interested in some other fantastic Christmas displays of lights this holiday season, check out some of OrnamentShop.com favorites:
- Las Vegas Motor Speedway Glittering Lights in Las Vegas, Nevada
- Trail of Lights in Austin, Texas
- Legendary Christmas Lights At Clifton Mill in Clifton, Ohio
- Lights Under Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky
- Smithsonian’ National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
If your home is the jewel of your neighborhood during the Christmas season, commemorate your passion with a Personalized Home Christmas Ornament!