But as of Thanksgiving night it became offical – Prairie Villager Mike Babbick‘s 40-plus year Christmas tradition was dead-on-arrival.
“There is no display on Falmouth this year,” Babick sighs. “I’ve been thinking about it and I read the ordinance real well and everything we do we won’t be able to do.”
When Babick says “everything,” he means everything.
For decades the retired septuagenarian has hardwired his tiny Prairie Village ranch on Falmouth street with animated elves, snowmen, reindeer nativity scenes -you name it – all things Christmas. Whereupon tens of thousands -0 generations of locals – gathered starting Thanksgiving night and throughout the holidays to take in the splendor.
That despite the fact that websites like Kansas Travel have continued to feature festive photos and directions to Babick’s home. And only very recently did the organization add the admonition, “Closed by the City of Prairie Village in 2012”
Which isn’t to say, the faithful haven’t kept coming.
“I’m still having traffic come by,” Babick says. “It’s nice to talk to the people and they understand. I’d say about 1,500 people came by Thanksgiving night, so that’s not really too many cars. Maybe 500 cars, one bus and a couple limousines.”
Some of Babick’s neighbors were fearful a protest movement might gather.
“Most of our neighbors weren’t here (Thanksgiving) night,” Babick says. “I don’t know if it was out of fear or what. But if I put up one light I’d have a $2,500 fine and a year in jail. I had my flashlight out because my granddaughter lost her keys, so I hope that wasn’t in violation of the ordinance.”
“I can deal with pain,” he says. “I’ve dealt with pain all my life. But it’s just not the same this year without the decorations.”
Any parting shots at the Prairie Village Council that tormented him?
“You mean with a loaded rifle or a blank pistol or what?” Babick quips. “Oh, what’s been done has been done, the talks are off and there’s a cease fire. But there’ll be more conversations and debates, I’m sure. Because a lot of people are upset. All I know is the city of Prairie Village hates Christmas and that’s it.”