Donor Keeps Interlochen All Lit Up

By Julie Tam
|  Friday, Nov 19, 2010  |  Updated 8:36 PM CDT
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A tight budget forced the city of <a title=Arlington to cancel funding for police to direct traffic in the Lake Interlochen neighborhod. But residents are starting to decorate anyways." />

Julie Tam, NBCDFW.com

A tight budget forced the city of Arlington to cancel funding for police to direct traffic in the Lake Interlochen neighborhod. But residents are starting to decorate anyways.

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An Arlington neighborhood famous for its elaborate annual holiday light displays ran into a roadblock this year. But the Grinch did not steal Christmas. Someone stepped in to help the decades-old tradition continue.

It's not Thanksgiving yet, and residents of Lake Interlochen are putting up lights and decorations, getting ready to put on a festive show. The Interlochen Christmas lights bring out thousands of people each year who drive through the neighborhood in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

"This is one of Arlington's original traditions. We really are inspired to keep it going," Ralph Sobel, president of the homeowners association, said. "It's very exciting. This brings so much joy to so many children of all ages. It's wonderful to be a part of it, to volunteer."

When the HOA found out the city would not provide funding for police to direct traffic, a former neighbor stepped up so the show could go on.

Well-known UT Arlington political science professor Allan Saxe is sponsoring the event. He remembers decorating his house when he lived in the neighborhood.

"It was just terrific, and so I hated to see any of that diminish. And I'm glad to be playing just a very small part," Saxe said. "The big part is played by the Interlochen homeowners, who get out on their ladders and put up the lights and risk life and limb."

This year, in addition to being merry and magical, "one of the things that's inspiring people this year [is] the World Series. We have the Super Bowl. Kind of one of our things is to make it a super Christmas," Sobel said.

Thanks to the sponsorship, Arlington police will direct traffic Dec. 17-19, 22-23 from 7 to 10 p.m. and Dec. 24-25 from 7 to 11 p.m. The lights will come on after the sun sets.

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