It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas on Old River Road North as TMT Farms gets ready for a month of festivity. Tens of thousands of vehicles will pass through Roy and Deborah Thompson’s farm, covered with lights, inflatables, sculptures and more between now and just after Christmas.
What began more than 25 years ago as a way to “use our property for the good of others” has snowballed into what is arguably one of the most notable Christmas displays in the state. “People come from not only all over Georgia, but from other states too,” Thompson said. “Come out one night and look at the car tags.”
It sounds unbelievable, but people come from miles away to drive through the fields and woods of TMT Farms, home tp Roy and Deborah Thompson, son Tyler Thompson and wife Chrissee; daughter Jennifer McCranie and her husband Jeff.
And most of these people – 45,000 cars full last year – bring donations of nonperishable foods, children’s toys, pet food and money that is used to help area families faced with hardships.
The display began actually in 1994, Thompson said. He and Deborah had just moved to the property at 16710 Old River Road North, and wanted to use the acreage to make a difference.
Over the years the farm has become a museum of sorts, filled with antiques, replicas of Bulloch County landmarks that are no longer; a mock western town complete with livery stables stores and a church, and even an authentic (but inoperable) moonshine still.
There are church steeples, classic automobiles, tractors and equipment, grain bins and barns, even replica teepees, all scattered around the Thompson and McCranie homes. But every year, on Thanksgiving night, the glow is apparent as TMT Farms is transformed into a Christmas fantasy land rivaling anyone’s dreams of sugarplums and Santa.
Over the years Thompson has expanded to the point of it taking 25 weeks to decorate the place, he said.
This year the Portal High School Bill Brown agricultural barn is completed, there are new grain bins on site, countless more strings of lights, inflatables, sculptures and other holiday scenes, and ta new path will help with traffic flow , designed to reduce the wait in line, he said.
The TMT Farms display will open Thanksgiving night at around 5:30 p.m. and will run each night through December until after Christmas, he said, The display usually closes around midnight, but on heavy traffic nights they have been known to leave the lights on all night. “We have had people tell us they get up at 4:30 a.m. and come, then go eat breakfast,” he said.
The tour is free, but donations of pet food, nonperishable food, toys and money are appreciated, Thompson said. The food helps replenish local food banks and help families in need, “Santa” takes the toys to children who may not get Christmas gifts otherwise, pet food goes to animal shelters and rescues while monetary donations are spread throughout the community to help those with true and unmet needs, he said.
TMT Farms at 16710 Old River Road North may be reached from Rocky Ford and Lakeview roads.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at 912-489-9414.