The annual Cranbury Christmas light show kicks off Thursday night at 128 North Main Street. Homeowner Keith Shaw has been running the display, which has over 100,000 lights choreographed to Christmas music.
The free show will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on twenty separate nights this holiday season, starting on Thursday. On Friday, Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Judy Pancoast will perform from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in a live concert.
The other nights when the show will take place are on:
- Dec. 7 and 8
- Dec. 12, 13, 14, 15
- Dec. 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25
- Dec. 27, 28, 29, 30, 31
Shaw has two new additions to the show this year including falling lights on the house and additional lights on the “mega tree” in the front. The display will also continue to include the 10,000 “Shooting Fountain of Light”, a 20 foot by 20 foot wall of snowflakes with 6,400 lights and the front lawn covered in 25,000 lights.
While the show is free, Shaw collects donations for local charities, most notably the He Cares We Care Food Bank that is affiliated wit the Princeton Alliance Church. This food bank helps out middle class families with two or more children where one, or both, parents have lost a job. According to Shaw, 80 percent of the food at He Cares We Care Food Bank is targeted to the children. Last year, Shaw collected over $7,000 for charity and this year he wishes to collect more. During every light show there are two donation boxes located right on the front of the property for people to make a contribution if they wish.
Shaw’s Christmas light show made headlines earlier this year when the Cranbury Zoning Board found him to be in violation of three township ordinances. One of the main problems was that Shaw was collecting money for charity, a commercial use, in a residential neighborhood. Shaw appealed the board and lost in October. He was going to bring a lawsuit against the township, but Zoning officers decided to meet with Shaw and help him make his show comply with the ordinances. After several weeks of negotiating, Shaw received the go-ahead to have his display with a few changes.
One of the biggest changes is that the choreographed light show has been shortened and only allowed to be exhibited on twenty dates. Additionally, Shaw worked out a traffic plan with the Cranbury Township police where people are no longer allowed to park in front of Shaw’s house or directly across from the house on the other side of the street. Visitors must park south of the house on the other side of the street or park one block north of the home on the side streets, according to Shaw.
Most importantly, the Cranbury Zoning Board did not uphold Zoning Officer Jeff Graydon’s opinion that collecting donations is in violation of Cranbury Township’s Land Development Code. Therefore, Shaw is able to continue to collect money for charity, which he said was absolutely the most important part of his Christmas Light Show.
Shaw said that the “vast array of Cranbury residents are huge supporters” of the show and that he is so excited to continue to “bring joy to people’s hearts” this holiday season.