End of an era: Leesburg's Christmas Tree Lane is no more

After more than 50 years, aging residents agree to give up tradition

LEESBURG, Fla. – People in Leesburg are without their beloved holiday light display this year.

Known as Christmas Tree Lane, residents said that it has been a tradition since the mid-1950s.

"Mostly, it would be the children. They would come in, in the back end of pickup trucks, just all smiles and, of course, wanting to speak to Santa Claus," resident Ken Bugg said.

Last year, neighbors said almost 10,000 vehicles drove through during the holiday season.

Patricia and Ken Bugg said they've been decorating for years at the Leesburg Lakeshore Mobile Home Park.

"Last year we handed out 16,000 candy canes," Patricia Bugg said.

For the first time this year, the elaborate Christmas Tree Lane has gone dark.

The Buggs said as their fellow neighbors continue to age, the decision was made to not put up the display.

"It's hard to give it up, but when you get over 80 ... (you're) not quite as flexible," Ken Bugg said. “We just ran short on help, and people (had) ... back problems and heart attacks.”

Albert and Evelyn Allen drove through the neighborhood Thursday night, hoping to get a glimpse of the holiday lights they saw for the first time last year with their grandchildren.

"Tonight is a disappointment," Evelyn Allen said. "We came the other night, figuring it was a little too early. So, we figured we take another go at it, and it's still the same."

"It was beautiful. The people put their heart and soul into it," Albert Allen said.

When News 6 called the community's management office, the person who answered the phone cited aging residents and rising insurance coverage costs as the reason the traditional lights are no longer on display.

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