Ionia Christmas display draws spectators from all over West Michigan

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IONIA, Mich. -- For the past 36 years, people in West Michigan have been driving to Ionia County for one Christmas display that really lights up the neighborhood. It's been growing every year and now stands at three acres.

If you take the turn down narrow Townsend Road, you can't miss it.

"I get carried away when I do things," said Tony Bennett, the mastermind behind the display.

Carried away is an understatement. The display takes two and a half months to set up, includes more than 400 figurines and 75,000 lights and uses 900 electric cords.

"I just started putting them up, and people started liking them," said Bennett. "People then started coming out of the woodwork just giving us stuff and wanted to be apart of it, so we get bigger every year."

The elaborate display comes with a hefty electric bill, but one that Bennett says is worth it.

"Have you ever seen a meter go around?" asked Bennett. "Ours spins so fast you can't even see the little black arrow on it."

The Bennetts don't take any donations and don't need any Thank Yous. This is simply their way of saying "Merry Christmas." Bennett says he has woken up to bottles of champagne, wine, beer and some Christmas cookies on the porch.  He said donations like that are always accepted.

"We love Christmas, but we wouldn't spend two and a half months to put it up, a month to maintain it, and a month to take it down just for our gratification," said Bennett. "It's for the public."

To check out the Christmas display, you can find it on Townsend Road in Ionia.

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