Spectacular Eastern Iowa Holiday Tradition Has New Home But Issues With City
A beautiful holiday tradition is continuing in eastern Iowa. The "Santa House" has moved to a new city, but it's just as magical as ever. Unfortunately, the owners of the new location of the display are facing a stiff fine from the city.
First off, here are some of the Santas in the display.
It originated at a home on Valley View Drive in Coralville. My friend, Danielle Piere, tells me there were "HUNDREDS of Santas in their yard and in/on their house. Every year on the night of Aisle of Lights (a Coralville tradition) the family would dress up as Santa, Mrs. Claus, reindeer & elves." Here's a photo from the display, back in 2013.
Those same Santas have been "adopted" and put on display at the new "Santa House." Danielle took her kids and describes it as "truly magical."
You can watch a little video of the display, complete with music, HERE.
The new "Santa House" is located at 1655 Red Barn Drive in North Liberty, off Forevergreen Road. The couple that owns the home is facing a hefty fine from the City of North Liberty if they don't move stuff, and pronto.
Here's the citation they received:
Here's what they tell me:
This year my wife and I purchased all of their decorations with the hope of continuing the tradition that they started years ago. So far it has been a huge success and kids and adults enjoy it. I figured you guys would find out about us taking over the display on your own as we are not doing it for attention or fame. After today I felt I needed to contact you with the hope that you can help me. While the City of Coralville was always so supportive of the display it appears that North Liberty will not be. I have attached the notice of a possible municipal infraction along with a fine of $835.00 that I received today via email with no explanation. In contacting the City to get answers all I have been told so far is that they had previously sent me a warning on December 13th. I never received any warning of any kind. Today I sent an email to the City administrators along with the mayor, council and city attorney. Thus far all I have gotten from the city attorney is that I have 2 days to remove everything from the sidewalk to the street or the infraction will be filed and I will be fined. I even offered to pay for a permit to at least keep the arches up and while the city attorney says he will check on it he is 99% sure that it is not an option.
I get we are probably in violation of the city code but all we are doing is trying to spread some Christmas cheer to families.
I get it, too. However, I certainly hope a compromise can be found. It is the holidays after all and if something can be worked out I bet everybody will feel better the remainder of this holiday season.
Make the drive to the display tonight and be sure to spend a few dollars in North Liberty too. This can be a win-win for the family, city, and all the kids and parents who are having smiles put on their faces by the beauty of the display. After all, like Danielle said, it's "truly magical."