Real Estate Magnate Shows Spirit in Lights
Date: December 20, 2004
Magazine: Arizona Republic
Author: Lars Jacoby
It's not often a four-year old event becomes a tradition, but the lighting display at the Michael A. Pollack Real Estate Investments building in Mesa is just that.
The display engulfs the building from top to bottom and has gone from neighborhood attraction to a must-see stop for serious holiday lights seekers.
"We started it on a much smaller scale when we moved into the building four years ago," company president Michael Pollack said. "Every year it's grown, it's evolved into new animations, larger displays and more lights."
Pollack said the display started with 250,000 lights and kept going up. "This year the display will boast more than 500,000 lights."
Workers began stringing up the lights and animation displays in early November, and it features almost 43 miles of lights.
The monument to the holidays also serves as one of the 40 drop-off locations for the "Michael A. Pollack Feed-the-Need Food drive" benefiting the St. Mary's food bank.
"In our first year we raised enough food to feed 22,000 people, we are hoping to go over 30,000 this year," Pollack said. The campaign got off to a good start raising more than $10,000 on the first day this year.
People from all over the Valley trek to the building on Baseline Road in Mesa to drop off food, see the lights and take pictures with Santa Claus.
"We just wanted to take a little bit of the commercialization out of the Christmas season," said Pollack, of offering families the chance to take their own photos with Kris Kringle.
Santa, who is portrayed by Pollack employee Roger Arnold of Mesa, can be found greeting people nightly through Thursday.
"You get to see the joy on the faces of all the families that come by here," said Arnold, 43. "It all goes for a good cause and we're out here more or less for the enjoyment of the people."
On a recent evening, hundreds of people stopped by to take pictures. Cars pulled up and packed tour buses worked their way past the building, stopping briefly for a word from Santa and his elves.
Mesa resident Frank Torres stopped by with his family to check out the display.
"It's great, I've been out here to see it every year, and every year it gets bigger and better," said Torres, 18. "The man has a lot of Christmas spirit."