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Huge crowds at Stony Brook Shines becoming too much to handle this year

Police ask visitors to come on weeknights instead
Stony Brook Shines organizers are asking visitors to keep crowds small
Posted at 6:34 AM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 10:02:41-05

LANCASTER, N.Y. (WKBW) — Stony Brook Shines draws big crowds each year, with people flocking to this Lancaster neighborhood to see some incredible holiday light displays and help out some worthy causes. But this year, cars are lining up, bumper to bumper down the street and neighbors are saying it’s too much.

“I mean our neighbors have been so gracious and wonderful, we welcome people into our community, that’s what we do, but we hope people can be safe while doing it,” said organizer, Jennifer Chomen.

On any given night, it’s all smiles and holiday cheer on Stony Brook Drive, with hundreds of visitors stopping by.

"The reaction has been mind-blowing, we’ve been dong this, this is our 13th year and we’ve never had the amount of people or traffic that we’ve had this year," said Chomen.

They’re raising thousands for WNY Heroes. Faster than ever before.

"We’re up to $29,000 already and we still have a few more weeks to go," said Chomen.

Stony Brook Shines is already on track to beat last year's donation total
Stony Brook Shines is already on track to beat last year's donation total

But it’s not all holly and jolly.

"Traffic has been bumper to bumper both ways, which is of course a wonderful thing, but the issue is, there’s traffic bumper to bumper," said Chomen.

The Chomens are getting complaints from neighbors, saying the traffic is too much and causing concern. It’s been so congested, they canceled the Mini Cooper parade that was scheduled for Friday, December 18.

"There’s just no way to get a parade through these streets. So we apologize to the public," said Chomen.

Chomen says the only thing different about this year’s fundraiser is COVID-19. Chomen thinks crowds are so big, because there's not much else to do right now.

Lancaster Police say it's hard to keep people out of the neighborhood, but they're monitoring the situation.

Stony Brook Shines has donated more than $100,000 since 2008
Stony Brook Shines has donated more than $100,000 since 2008

"If we get phone calls and if we have to address the situation, especially if it's a safety-related thing, obviously we're going to show up and do what we have to do," said Lieutenant Jonathan Ziders.

Police and the Chomen family are asking potential visitors to come on weeknights, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, to keep crowds small. And if you see a crowd, they say to turn around and come back another night.

"Park on one side of the street if you’re gonna walk through, stay on one side of that street, that would be very very helpful. Patience and courtesy is optimal right now and keep making Stony Brook Shine,” said Chomen.

For more information on the fundraiser click here. To donate to this year's cause, click here.