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Cost no longer an obstacle for popular Christmas display

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Jerry Budnick's elaborate Christmas display drew thousands of people to his West Kelowna property each holiday season. Storing and staging the display has become too much for Budnick, but members of the Capri Rotary Club hope to erect at least half of it in Kelowna's Kerry Park next week.
An elaborate Christmas display featuring a ferris wheel, waterfalls and a merry-go-round could be erected in downtown Kelowna after all.
Members of the Capri Rotary Club say they hope to put up the display in Kerry Park early next week.
"We're anxious to see this happen," Lockie Bracken, a club director in charge of the light-up project, said Tuesday. "It certainly should add a lot to the Christmas look of Bernard Avenue."
Electricians examining most of the thousands of lights and decorations formerly owned by Jerry Budnick of West Kelowna have now said the display can be safely presented in a fenced-off public area.
"We think we'll be able to put up at least half of the original display," Bracken said.
People admiring the Christmas lights will be invited to make a donation to support Rotary's various good causes, he said.
Mayor Walter Gray, who first proposed the light display be erected on city property, said he was delighted to see the project moving forward after some uncertainty.
"I'm really pleased to see the Rotary Club has been able to pull this off," Gray said. "I think it'll be a fantastic and colourful addition to downtown Kelowna this Christmas."
Budnick put the display on the lawn of his Bridgeview Road home every Christmas season for more than a decade.
Likely the most elaborate privately owned Christmas decoration anywhere in the Central Okanagan, it was a popular seasonal attraction, drawing hundreds of people every night.
But Budnick said storing and staging the display had become too much for him last year, and he donated it to the Rotary Club. Initially, electricians had estimated it might cost as much as $70,000 to upgrade the display to ensure it conformed with current safety standards.
But upon closer inspection by other electricians, that cost estimate proved to be much too high. The light-up project has been aided by a $15,000 grant from the City of Kelowna.
The display will be put up by volunteers Monday or Tuesday, after the official Downtown Kelowna Light-Up planned for this Saturday.

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