Buckner has holiday light display, thanks to generosity - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Buckner has holiday light display, thanks to generosity of Blue Springs man

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BUCKNER, MO (KCTV) -

A man who spent three decades entertaining families with his Christmas lights is donating the entire display to a small Missouri town.

Thanks to his generosity, Wednesday night city leaders in Buckner will kick off their very first Christmas in the Park light display.

For 30 years Steve Steiner perfected his Christmas lights display on Chicago Street in Blue Springs, MO. When he announced his retirement, city leaders in Buckner asked if Steiner would like his display to live on in a nearby city.

A YouTube video shows what Chicago Street looked like every year for more than three decades with twinkling lights and flashing pictures lining both sides of the road for blocks. Steiner started the display in his own yard.

"After that the neighbors up the street said, 'are you coming to my house next year? Are you coming to my house?' Pretty soon we had 55 houses. This went and grew and went on for 30 years in my own neighborhood," he said.

The tradition became very popular.

"I estimated 50,000 people would drive through to see it," Steiner said.

Last year, though, the man behind it all decided to retire.

"You know it's time. I kind of think about hanging this up," Steiner said.

"We had gone through his lights forever in Blue Springs," said Dan Hickson, the mayor of Buckner.

Hickson and several other city leaders approached Steiner with a plan and he agreed to donate the display.

"Thankfully he chose us to donate them to," said Buckner City Administrator Yvonna Stapleton.

"Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. It was far more than what we anticipated. We had hoped for it. I figured with all of the bigger cities around, they would get it instead of us," Hickson said. "We're kind of an unlikely little town out in the country. Kind of like how Christ was born in an unlikely spot."

Anyone can visit the new Buckner display for free and 10 percent of all donations will go to local teachers.

"To help in their classrooms. We have seven not-for-profit organizations, four churches and three other organizations that are going to be down here working the booth. We will split the donations up between them," the mayor said.

The city is holding a grand opening ceremony at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

"It is something to bring the whole community together, something for everyone to enjoy, especially the kids. It's a blessing," Stapleton said.

And Wednesday night at 409 Veteran's Drive they will have hot chocolate, cookies, fireworks and carriage rides. The event itself is free, but carriage rides will cost $3.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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