From the first moment of meeting Sue Dojonovic, it is easy to tell she is a kind-hearted woman that simply loves children.
And it is this passion that has inspired her family's backyard winter wonderland since the early 1990s. For many Plum residents, the Disney-themed light display at 219 Fiesta Drive has become a beloved holiday family tradition.
The display will be featured as a special stop on Holiday Park Fire Department's hay rides as part of Sugar Plum Days beginning tonight.
Dojonovic, 59, has been a resident of Plum for nearly 37 years and runs a home-based daycare. The idea for her family's impressive holiday display came from a Looney Tunes-themed display during her eldest child's high school homecoming.
The first year, the Dojonovic's featured the Looney Tunes characters but changed to Disney soon after.
The Dojonovic's add a new character cutout to the display every year, and 2010 is no exception.
There is a raffle contest to give away a special Disney Christmas gift basket for guests that can figure out the year's newest character cutout.
In the past, Dojonovic has included Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty and Ratatouille.
Dojonovic's personal favorite is a life-sized Cinderella carriage, featuring all the familiar characters, where guests can sit inside and take some memorable photos.
"I try to pick from the classic [movies], but now the younger kids don't know the classics," Dojonovic says. "So we try to do an up-to-date [character] for the kids as well."
The holiday display features more than 200 handmade character cutouts in spotlights.
Guests can take it all in on a walk down a straw path through the Dojonovic's backyard, complete with Christmas music wafting through the trees and free candy canes.
Dojonovic's husband, Tom, typically creates the display set-up single-handedly, but he had a little extra help this year from their son's landscaping business, Dojonovic Landscaping. The whole process began the day after Thanksgiving.
"He was out there last night until 1o o'clock at night!" laughs Dojonovic.
"And it's cold out there! We have a good time. We don't take any money. It's all for the kids. It's sort of like my husband's Christmas gift to the whole community."
The display is visible from Route 286 but guests can browse at their leisure as the Dojonovic's have opened their backyard to the public for the holidays.
There is a guest book for visitors to leave their names and a special message to the generous family that funds displays every year.
Dojonovic estimates 500 to 600 visitors annually, from near and far. The guest book has signatures from across the country, and even as far as Germany.
"My favorite part is just watching the kids," Dojonovic says.
"They walk through the path and their parents take their pictures with the characters, and it just makes our holiday. It really puts us in the spirit seeing the happy little children."