His name is Andy Trinkaus, and he's pushing 90 years old but you'd never know it. He's the last Trinkaus remaining from his family's landmark Oriskany restuarant, The Trinkaus Manor. The restaurant was destroyed by a fire in the early 90s, but the Christmas lights made it through. And now, Andy's in charge of the beautiful holiday display that lights the streets of Rome.
"I enjoy doing it. I've been doing this since 1955," says Andy Trinkaus, 89-year-old Oriskany native and the man behind the Rome Christmas displays.
This is Andy's work-shop.
"We have to do an elbow replacement on this guy here, and we have to repair his knee," says Andy, as he works on a mechanical elf.
It all started when Andy saw the holiday displays on Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City.
"I came back to Oriskany and said maybe we can do something here. We started real slow and every year got bigger and bigger," says Andy.
And for the next 40 years, that's exactly what he did at the Trinkaus Manor. Andy's family still remembers...
"It was like a little winter wonderland in the back of the restaurant. You could walk around the trails, it was like a little village. You had the waterfalls, the pond, it was just wonderful," says Brian Balfe, Andy's grandson.
The Trinkaus Manor burnt down in 1992 but that didn't break Andy's holiday spirit. Instead, he came up with a new idea so that even more people could enjoy his winter wonderland.
"Joe Griffo was mayor and first thing he says, Andy what are you gonna do with the decorations? I says I haven't the slightest idea. He says boy we would like to have them up here. I said you can have them Joe," says Andy.
20 years later, Andy is still happy with his decision. He says now, the Trinkaus lights can live on through the generations, just like they do for Brian and his son.
"When he sees the lights, he's like great grandpa did these. He loves it, its great to pass it on to him. Let him see the memories that are still around, that we all still have, and he can share in those too," says Brian.
"I'm gonna do this forever, ever, how long that will be," laughs Andy.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Andy's Christmas lights in Rome. If you haven't seen the lights just yet, Andy says the best time to come is at night. He calls it his winter wonderland on North James Street.