WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — With 820 lights, a wreath and the initials of his late father glowing on his SUV, Jason Messier continues a tradition he started as a pizza delivery driver back in 1999.
“Oh, it’s crazy,” he said. “Honking. You saw it in the parking lot. They love it. It’s Christmas time.”
A quick run through as daylight fades shows how it’s all held together.
“A little duct tape. It’s black this year. In the past it was red and green,” Messier said, pointing to how the strings of lights are attached to the vehicle. “Most people are shocked, and you see the reaction on their faces when they do a double-take.”
In the back of the sleigh on this night, there’s a load of toys that will be given to a local charity.
Messier said a community of local businesses and individuals have pitched in to donate enough goods over the years to help more than 100 families in West Warwick, Coventry and Warwick.
One example came after a fire tore through a family’s home on Curson Street in West Warwick earlier this month, leaving them homeless for the holidays.
“These people had never lived in Rhode Island before, never lived in West Warwick,” he said. “The community came together. We ended up raising $1,000 in one day for the family, between cash and gift cards.”
The good he and the many who donate can do is great, but Messier admits driving the glowing SUV is also about fun during the holiday season.
“As much as we like collecting donations and helping out different organizations, some of it is just people looking at it and putting a smile on their faces,” he said.
Next Christmas will mark 20 years on the road for the Crazy Christmas Wagon, and Messier said he might celebrate by doubling the number of lights.
Then again, that might require a bigger vehicle, or a trailer.