Family defends extreme Christmas light display in court for 3rd day

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida couple who display their love for Christmas are taking a stand after their neighbors and the city said the decorations are too extreme.

The massive display on Hyatt’s front lawn attracts large crowds of people annually for the family’s favorite time of year, and now they’re defending their right to light for the third day in a row.

The City of Plantation is suing the Hyatts over their extreme Christmas display. “Christmas is very special in our family,” said Mark Hyatt. “It makes me feel good. It allows me to practice what I feel is good parts of our faith with my community.”

The Hyatts claim that it is their religious right to decorate their home, and in over 20 years of putting up the decoration display, no one has gotten hurt.

The home draws in thousands of people, and the city claims that it is a safety issue and public nuisance, but the Hyatts said that this is how they celebrate the holiday.

“I love meeting people. I love carrying on the tradition of our family that goes back to when I was a very young man,” Hyatt said. “I built it for my mom. My mother had leukemia for 12 years, and we dealt with those issues for many years, and she looked forward to the display every single year.”

The defense claimed the city has not provided any evidence that shows the display is dangerous and they have moved to dismiss. “They need to show that, in fact, there is a danger to health, safety and welfare,” said Hyatt Attorney James Helf. “The evidence that’s been presented in this case just does not show it.”

The judge denied the motion, however.

The Hyatts claimed that the ordeal was a neighborly dispute that became political and ended up in court. The trial was expected to take three days, but is now expected to go longer.

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