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Suwannee County Christmas light display inspires town of McAlpin after rough year of flooding from Tropical Storm Debby

12:22 AM, Dec 21, 2012   |    comments
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MCALPIN, Fla. -- It has been a tough year for many folks in the Suwannee County town of McAlpin.

In June, Tropical Storm Debby dumped more than 40 inches of rain in the communities around Live Oak and Lake City. 

Robert and Lisa King lost pretty much everything in the flood. 

"It's a helpless feeling," Robert King said. 

"You see it on TV but you don't know what it's really like until it's happening to you."

The two have spent the last 16 years putting on the town's main attraction: a Christmas display with 70,000 lights synchronized to music.

However, the couple lost their lights in the flooding as well.

"So we didn't know what to do," Lisa said. "Putting up the lights each year is a part of our life and for the community."

Their family and neighbors came together and helped the couple through the hard times. 

And the Kings made the decision to put everything toward getting the light display together, instead of toward their home.

"We're living in the barn right now," Lisa said.

"But it's uplifting for us," Robert added. "Without this, it would feel like the end of the world."

Each night, neighbors come together to watch the display. Some drive by slowly, others park and watch while listening to the songs on a dedicated radio frequency.

And after the year the community has had, Lisa said they had to do it.

"We just couldn't let em down, nope, not after this year."

The house is at 11567 156th Street, McAlpin. It's about a two-hour ride from Jacksonville. 

First Coast News

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