LARGO, Fla. — Twenty-five years ago, Ruby Dow, a beloved neighbor in the Largo community of Lake Park Estates, was cared for by Suncoast Hospice in her final days.
Eddie Dow wanted to honor his late wife and her caregivers by decorating the neighborhood with Christmas lights — and raising a little money as thanks to Suncoast Hospice.
Five houses participated; $500 was made.
Now, all these years later, Ruby’s name and a spectacular tradition live on.
But those lights are a lot brighter; those donations are a lot bigger.
The Lights of Lake Park, a free driving tour of the Pinellas County community that officially kicks off on Friday, has raised three-quarters of a million dollar for Suncoast Hospice. Some 300 houses — and three miles of lights — are on gaudy display.
Christmas-light lookie-loos can donate money if they like — or they can just drive through the winding neighborhood, taking in the blinking Christmas trees and dancing gingerbread men.
The centerpiece is Amy Maltinos’ eye-dazzling Christmas madness — dancing lights in sync with 22 songs — on 107th Avenue. You can’t miss it — no, really. She smiles: “Yeah, I’m THAT house.”