Planet Monkman Christmas ending 17-year run

Reporter: Justin Kase
Published: Updated:

A decade-and-a-half-long tradition is coming to an end in Cape Coral. This is the last year Planet Monkman Christmas will shine bright.

It’s Neil Monkman’s last Christmas, and he’s giving his heart to this community. Over the course of 17 years, thousands of people have flooded this neighborhood along NE 8th Terrace to see this display.

It’s a labor of love for Monkman, but seeing the smiles on people’s faces over the years makes it worth it to him, and that’s the greatest gift of all.

The lights shone bright, more than 215,000 of them, all synced to Christmas music.

“I get frustrated setting it up, but when I see all the kids out here, and they’re dancing and running around in circles, and they see Santa and come running up for their candy canes, it just makes it all worthwhile,” Monkman said.

Crowds of people show up to simmer in the holiday spirit.

“It makes me feel like Christmas,” said Leslie Partington, Cape Coral resident. “It makes me feel like dancing, seeing those reindeer with their instruments on the roof. I mean, it’s fantastic.”

It’s a moment that comes full circle for some families. Monica Evenson came here when she was younger. Now, she’s bringing her daughter here for the first time.

People are thankful for all the joy this display has brought to their families, but all good things must eventually come to an end.

“My wife has some health issues, nothing major, but I’m having to do more around the house and help her and family first, you know, that always prevails, so, it’s just getting to the point where it takes up too much of my time,” Monkman said.

Monkman said it’s been great seeing how it’s grown over the years, great seeing all the smiles over the years, and everyone is thankful they got to experience this Christmas creativity.

Each Christmas display also raises money for different nonprofits. In previous years, he’s raised money for vests for police K-9s.

This year, money is being raised for the Cape Coral animal shelter, and Monkman said close to $2,000 has already been raised.

The display will continue through New Year’s Eve.

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