Merry Christmas from the Galloway Current

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Anyone for some light music?

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP – The light show on Lake Meone at Historic Smithville is a one-man show.

And, according to that man – Ed Fitzgerald – it requires more than three weeks of preparation by four workers including him.

“We start three weeks before Thanksgiving,” he said of the lights that form in the shape of Christmas trees and will dance to music through New Year. “We have wood platforms with galvanized pipe and lighting.”

This is the sixth year for the light show, Fitzgerald said.

“Nobody else has it anywhere,” he said. “We’re able to accomplish it because the lake is only four feet deep. If it were 20 feet deep, I couldn’t put 20 feet of pipe to hold the platforms.”

The trees are 4 to 12 feet tall and the lake is between 3 and 4 feet deep.

“It takes 10 hours of programming to do one minute of song,” Fitzgerald said. “The show continuously repeats.”

The lake has 130 trees with more than 50,000 lights that pulsate to the tune of holiday music, Fitzgerald said.

“Each ‘tree’ is on a wooden platform with galvanized pipes,” he said. “I developed my own system. They are secured by three pipes. I hammered them into the lake bottom. It only takes me an hour and a half to make a tree,” Fitzgerald said.

Setting the trees out and programming the music is what takes time, he said.

Fitzgerald does his own programming, as he does everything else.

“I’m self-taught,” he said. “I learn as I go along.”

When Fitzgerald retired from the Atlantic City Fire Department, he was looking for a big project. So when he and his wife Wendie got the chance to buy Village Greene, they jumped right in.

Videography by Greg Marino


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