SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) -For many, the day after Thanksgiving signals the green light to start putting up Christmas decorations, but one man in Sarasota spends all year working on his. And he said crowds of up to 500 people come to the Saralake Estates neighborhood just to witness it.
This isn’t your typical front yard display, everything is handmade from 87 year old Neil Miller. He has created things like Santa’s workshop, a carousel, and his newest creation is a castle. But Miller said this will be the last year his famous display will be up at 3038 Viola Drive in Sarasota.
Miller said he has been making these buildings for over sixty years.
Each year, he thinks of a new place around the world he wants to recreate and uses vinyl concrete to do so.
And much like a Christmas elf he said he starts creating his masterpieces right when the display gets taken down on New Year's Day.
"I've always started right after Christmas making my things, planning where everything is going to go," Miller said.
He isn't quite sure how much time he spends building the houses, but it takes up most of his days.
“I don’t know, I don’t keep track of time. I just get up before the sun is up , usually and I’m out there making my little houses,” said Miller.
And many neighbors say they admire his hard work.
"I've been in construction for 48 years and I wouldn't know how to make a house out of concrete like they are so it's very unique," said neighbor, Frank Ruggeri.
The Christmas display has become a holiday tradition for people in Miller's neighborhood.
"I get them to smile and they forget about the world troubles, it makes people feel at ease." Miller said.
Because of his age, Miller said this is the last year he will be putting on this display. But, he is selling his homemade buildings to the public once the display comes down on New Year’s Day.