BAYPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Turn out the lights on the Girl Scouts? Members say, “Say it ain’t so!'”
As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, Girl Scouts may have become victims of their own success, as some Long Island neighbors are fighting to rid their community of the scouts’ annual holiday light show.
The popular light show fundraiser is a decadelong custom in Bayport. Thousands jump into their cars to “ooh” and “aah” at the drive-through spectacular.
“It’s a tradition,” Kerri Buckner, of Bayport, said. “My children and I, we can’t wait to go every year. The kids get in their jamas, and we drive down.”
Just off Montauk Highway and Lakeview Avenue, Camp Edey is decorated to delight during the annual December display.
But trouble seems to be brewing.
“Everybody loves the Girl Scouts, and they’re great for the community,” Corrine Diaz, of Bayport, said. “But this light show is really bad for traffic.”
Local residents complaining of the traffic nightmare took their gripes to Islip Town Hall and demanded the council take action, saying homeowners’ holidays are ruined from Dec. 4 to Dec. 23, with bumper-to-bumper light show traffic. They are also concerned about the idling cars.
“This is a real safety concern for us and all residents of the block,” said Chris Slater, whose family wants the light show gone.
Traffic “backs all the way up our block, which is a half-mile long, all the way down Montauk Highway and up Nicols Road, which is well over a mile, mile-and-a-half stretch,” Slater said.
The Girl Scouts of Suffolk County say they were blindsided, but are now agreeing to scale back, limit hours and cars and hire security.
“The holiday light show is a great tradition for families across Long Island,” said the Girl Scouts’ Kyle Grant.
“It would be such a huge loss if we were unable to continue this tradition,” added Jacqueline Morgan of the Girl Scouts.
Light show fundraising from last Decemeber is now supporting 7,800 Girl Scouts in Suffolk in need of financial assistance, the group said.
Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt said the town has split the Girl Scouts’ permit for the light display into two parts.
“If the first few days of the show demonstrate that it’s disastrous, we won’t let them continue with the show,” she said.
Despite the Girl Scouts’ pleas to keep the light show on camp property, the Town Council is suggesting it be moved, perhaps to a state park.
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