BY TRACY SEARS
MIDLOTHIAN, Va. - Even on a cold, rainy night, the line to see Hunter Bottoms' now famous Brandermill light display, was wrapped around the block. Richmond resident Marnie Crane said nothing in the city compared to the extravagant holiday showcase.
"We love crazy! This is excellent," Crane said.
With more than 160,000 lights, the home on Long Hill Road in Midlothian was the frontrunner in USA Today's National Tacky Lights Competition. A winner will be announced on Tuesday.
While neighbors said they're happy for the Bottoms' family and proud of the national recognition, they were less thrilled with the traffic and chaos that's been the result of the home's growing popularity.
This weekend, several residents said traffic was backed up all the way to Genito and Old Hundred Road.
Neighbor Ryan Angelopulous said he ended up parking several blocks from his home after battling traffic, including tour buses, on Brandermill Parkway.
"It took 30 minutes, 35 minutes in line and that's just getting to walking four blocks away," Angelopulous said. "It was backed up all the way to Lucky's in Brandermill."
Another neighbor, John Robertson, said he walked five blocks on Sunday night, with groceries in hand.
While making light of the situation, Robertson said the congestion has fired up several Brandermill residents. The homeowner's association responded with an email to Brandermill residents on Monday.
"Some people are pretty good and some people do have short tempers," Robertson said. "But sitting on Brandermill Parkway for half an hour or so, you kind of want to get going."
Other neighbors said they've had problems with people walking and parking in their yards.
On Monday night, Chesterfield Police responded to concerns by directing traffic in two locations outside the home. The home's location in a cul-du-sac has created a unique set of problems because several cars tried to park near the home.
Both Robertson and Angelopulous said the police presence on Monday night kept traffic flowing and the crowds a little more orderly.
Several residents said they hate to be the Grinch on Christmas and have enjoyed the lights, but acknowledged they'll be relieved when things get quiet again.
"It's only a couple nights of the year," Robertson said. "We can put up with that for Christmas."
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