In 2019, over 700,000 people visited

MACON, Ga. — Bryan Nichols has a nickname of sorts.

“I get called 'Skinny Santa' a lot," he said with a chuckle.

This is Nichols' fifth year orchestrating the light show extravaganza. He will work like one of Santa's elves up till the last minute stringing up a half a million lights and making sure the snow machine is ready to shower down the fluffy stuff.

“We added six new songs this year, so now there are 25 songs going to be in the show. We're going to make it -- the six and seven will be completely different, he said confidently.

Two different musical rotations means folks may spend more time soaking in the colorful display.

Emily Nichols is with NewTown Macon.

“We've been able to use cell phone data to see who comes down for the show,” she said.

That cell phone data in 2019 says over 770,000 got in their sleigh to see the show.

Last year, those numbers dipped dramatically, but we were still grappling with the worst of the pandemic.

“We've had businesses on Poplar Street tell us they've opened just because of this show because it brings so many people downtown," Emily said.

It makes sense. Let's say 400,000 spend $10 a piece, which is a conservative estimate. That's $4 million.

.It's a number that would make the Grinch smile, and Nichols says it's not just the streets with the lights that benefit.

“It's impacting all of Macon and Bibb County with all of the tourists that come in who are staying at the hotels and eating at the restaurants all over town," he said.

Don't forget -- the fun with the concert and the lights turning on will happen next Friday night starting at 6 p.m. at the corner of First and Second streets.

The light extravaganza runs until January 2nd.