JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – The Deck The Chairs Music & Light Show in Jacksonville Beach was back on Tuesday evening despite a Grinch who stole the equipment needed to operate part of the annual spectacle, which for seven years has delighted visitors with a combination of flashing light displays and holiday music.
Deck The Chairs founder Kurtis Loftus said someone broke into the Whoville like tree and stole a laptop and nearly $2,000 worth of equipment needed to work some of the display lights and holiday music, shutting down the tree lights and 10 other nearby displays.
“That tree has 10 thousand pixel lights, so 76 straps, 10,000 lights, and they’re all little computer chips in each of those lights and they’re all handled by a programmer and a program that runs 24/7,” explained Loftus.
Organizers believe the equipment was taken either late Sunday or early Monday.
On Monday night, the lights and holiday music were off.
On Tuesday, animator Darren Huffty and the crews worked throughout the day to restore the tree.
“We had to replace the computer and the network switches and then reconnect everything, reinstall the software and reinstall the programs,” Huffty said.
By 5 p.m., the lights and holiday music were back on.
“Like the people in Whoville, there are people that are going to do bad things, so I would say we just need to realize that, move on with life and do what we can do to make things as good as they can be and celebrate regardless of the circumstances,” Huffty said.
Loftus said: “We’re a determined group out here.”
For many people, there is no place like Deck The Chairs around the holidays.
“It’s an annual thing that we do with our family and it’s just so much fun,” said attendee DJ Urbanek.
Attendee Barry Baur said: “We’ve been coming here for years, and it’s really grown. When we first came here there were only a few chairs. Now look at it. It’s spectacular.”
According to Deck The Chairs, Jacksonville Beach police are investigating the theft.
Those wishing to help out Deck The Chairs can make a donation on the nonprofit organization’s website.