Christmas Light Display Featuring Big Tex is a Big Hit in University Park

A University Park man's love of Christmas lights rivals Clark Griswald in 'Christmas Vacation.'

"It seems like it's bigger every year, for sure," said neighbor Brad Hubbard.

Wayne Smith's home on Southwestern Boulevard is a sight be behold. He has about 600 figures in his collection including dozens of Santas and snowmen and an Easter bunny.

But most people marvel at the big guy up on the roof -- the original Big Tex from 1950 that was used for two years. Smith bought it at a state fair auction for $1,700.

"I just had to have it," Smith said. "And it's not for sale. It's not for sale at any price."

Through the years Smith has spent quite a bit on decorations.

"Well if my mom's not watching, probably about 30 or 40 grand," he said.

It's not small feat to bring the Christmas display to life.

"I used to run cords down the hallway, just run them through the attic, my daughter would turn on a hair dryer and all of a sudden half the house would go dark," said Smith "I'd go, 'dag gone it, turn off the hair dryer, you just knocked my lights out.' I'm not caring about a hair dryer, please."

And Smith spends quite a bit to light the night. "Well my normal utility bill is about four to $500 dollars a month. But then it adds about an extra $1,000 a month," and Smith said it's worth every penny.

Some neighbors enjoy the lights because they would never do this.

"It's kind of become a tradition of just coming out and seeing everybody getting excited for the season," said Sophie Lowrance.

But truth be told, the traffic can be terrible.

"I've only had a few people over the years who have ever complained about it," Smith said. "I just tell them 'hey, it takes me 10 minutes to back out of my driveway too.'"

Smith's reason for decorating is simple.

"There's so many terrible things that are going on the rest of our year and stuff, if there can be just a little bit of time were we just kind of forget about all the rest of the world and trouble and stuff," he said. "My heart just melts. It's kind of a little selfish but it just makes me feel so good on the inside, you know."

And Smith's smallest fans bring him the biggest joy.

"Having little kids come up to you and tell you 'thank you' and 'Merry Christmas' and stuff, there's not a greater feeling in the world," said Smith.

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