Popular Christmas light display in Northeast Philadelphia may go dark after 20 years

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- For the last two decades, it's been a handed-down holiday tradition that has sparked joy in Northeast Philadelphia.

Those that have ventured down to the 4200 block of Greeby Street light up just as much as the colorful display.

"I think the beauty of it is that you just get to see the beauty of when people come together," said one woman.

So, you can imagine how many are feeling now that the display has slowly been dimming over the last few years. Almost to the point where it may go dark for good.

"I would be sad," said visitors Lindzee Colville. "I would probably cry and beg for people to do it again," said visitor and parent Alice Refsnider.

And that's part of the problem.

"Due to the lack of help and people moving, and a lot of renters on the block, it's just not feasible for the people that do climb to put stuff up to keep doing it," said homeowner Colette Stabler.

Stabler and her husband began the tradition 20 years ago.

"It's just what he grew up with," she explained. "He tried to continue it and tried to bring it out to all of Greeby Street and then all of the Northeast and then, Philly," she added.

From their home, it grew into a treasured, must-see attraction in Philadelphia.

Eventually even growing in a charitable event.

"This year is the 8th year of doing a Salvation Army night and we just ask people to bring unwrapped toys and then the kettle will be here," Stabler said.

But this literal and metaphorical spotlight could potentially be put out after this year if more people aren't willing to save it.

"It's just a matter of help really," Stabler said.

And while some are clearly doing their part, the Stablers say it's nowhere near what it once was.

"Not having these kind of places, it just kind of takes away from the beauty and energy and aesthetic of Christmas and the holiday season," said Miriam Majeed.

They, like frequent visitors to Greeby Street, are hopeful for a holiday miracle.

"There's always hope," Stabler said.

The Salvation Army Toy Drive is still scheduled for next Friday 6:30 p.m.

As far as the fate of the display, the Stablers say you can at least count on their home being lit for years to come.
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