‘I wish he would stay’: Neighbors soak in final days of beloved Christmas light tradition in Mulberry

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A spectacular Christmas light display has become a tradition in a Mulberry neighborhood. This year, as the lighting designer prepares to move out of the state, neighbors are savoring the lights and music even more.

“He is an icon in this world. He is an icon in this county,” said Amy Crawford, an Imperial Lakes neighbor who visits the Don Weaver lighting display often.

For 12 years, Weaver has strung tens of thousands of lights synchronized with dozens of songs.

He’s a professional lighting director, who lights television commercials and television news sets across the country.

It started because his wife, Merita, wanted to create something for the neighborhood kids.

She passed away last year and remains Weaver’s inspiration.

Two days before she died, she made a request to her husband.

“What she said was ‘Are you doing Christmas lights this year?’ and I said ‘I think so.’ And she said ‘No you’re going to do them, and you better do them bigger and better for me,’” he remembers her saying.

And he did – this year he’s using 200,000 lights. That’s more than ever.

“I give him credit for the time he spends to do this and it’s a lot of heart. It’s a lot of Christmas traditions he has himself. Props to Don,” said Bruce Lee, who has been bringing his son to see the lights for all 12 years.

This holiday season is bittersweet, as Weaver prepares to move to South Carolina.

“We’ve already started planning for the next one – which is a huge house up in Garden City, South Carolina, which we’re already planning at least 250,000 up there. We even put 200 amps of power in just for lights,” said Weaver.

On his annual “Hot Chocolate Night” Saturday, hundreds of people came out to meet Santa and enjoy the lights.

Many of them were grappling with the news this year would be their last year experiencing it.

“I hate to see him leave. I wish he would stay. I mean, it’s a part of our heart. Our son and everything, he grew up seeing them,” said Lee.

Check out the Weaver light display every night through Dec. 30 in the Imperial Lakes neighborhood of Mulberry.

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