CEDAR GROVE, NJ - When Robbie Vargo set up for Christmas at his Union Street home eight years ago, he purchased a couple thousand lights and set up what he thought was a pretty impressive display.
"Then, my childhood friend, who happened to live across the street, said ‘no one is going to look at your house. They’ll be looking at mine!’” Vargo laughed. “So that day I went out to Walmart and filled up two carriages to the top with lights. I was determined! My display grew and grew from there.”
The Vargo house has evolved with every year, and is now a favorite holiday destination for locals who flock to see his Christmas lights set to music.
Vargo, who has since moved his family (and display) to 30 Patten Terrace, has also become mayor of Cedar Grove in the past year. “I can’t say for sure, but I am pretty confident that I have the best light show of all the mayors in New Jersey,” he said jokingly.
“Our show has grown each year, and we are happy to be part of some family’s traditions,” he continued. But Vargo wanted to do even more than just put on a show—he wanted to make a difference. “About five years ago, I decided that with so many cars stopping by, we had to leverage this opportunity for something good. So we began to collect toys for charity. The first year we got about 60 toys from just friends and family. From then on, it’s doubled every year. Last year we got over 900 toys!”
Vargo connected with Toys for Tots, which in turn connected him with a charity in Passaic. “The organizer of that event said that without our light show, he would never be able to do his charity event for the local kids,” Vargo said.
This year, the light show features the songs “Baby Shark Remix,” “The Git Up,” and Mariah Carey’s Christmas classic, “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Drive by to enjoy the show this weekend!
Looking for more lights? Check out these local spots!
Union Street, Cedar Grove
Sweetwood Drive, Cedar Grove
Myrtle Avenue, Montclair
Turtleback Zoo, West Orange
Sip and Swirl, Fairfield (Friday evening)