NEW CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — This holiday season, we’re in need of cheer more than ever, so one Rockland County family is going all out to spread joy.
From festive floats to decadent decor, the labor of love and light on Oriole Drive in New City has been delivering special moments to an entire community for months already.
“I think probably the first lights hit the house end of August, first week in September, which, you know … we’re those people,” homeowner Gary Cirlin told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.
The entire Cirlin family takes part, all to raise money for Angel Flight Northeast so patients who need lifesaving care can get free flights to treatment.
“There are 83 candy canes,” Cirlin said.
It’s the fifth year for the elaborate fundraiser and display, which they call the North Pole Airport.
“This year is, of course, a year like no other,” Cirlin said.
But this year is by far the most extravagant. They’ve added 10,000 lights for a grand total of 51,000 lights and when it’s all lit up at night, it’s nothing short of spectacular.
It would normally draw crowds of thousands, which is a problem in the pandemic, so they ask people to enjoy the sights from the car.
For those that do venture out, Cirlin asks, “Please wear a mask … Make sure you stay at least two reindeer apart.”
Watch drone footage of the display —
The COVID crisis inspired creativity. The elves are all wearing masks, and with a wave of the hand, visitors can activate the elf toy wrapping machine and the elf traffic control tower. The idea is to spread joy, not germs.
Eleven-year-old Hannah Cirlin says it’s working.
“I have a lot of friends who come by, and I’ve gotten texts from them, like, ‘Oh my god, are you serious? This made my mom so happy,'” Hannah said.
On top of the $40,000 they’ve raised for Angel Flight, they can’t keep up with the amount of canned and boxed goods people are dropping off for the local food pantry.
“For us as a family, for our kids to see the best in people that are coming out and donating money and food is really the perfect end to this year, to end on a high note,” Cirlin said.
It’s a bright spot at the end of such a dark year, when this kind of light is needed more than ever.
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