Tagg’s Candy Cane Lane raises money for LLS


Gina Arnold

Justin Arnold and his uncle, Robert Tagg, now team up for the annual holiday event.

Gia Arnold, Guest Writer

Highland Heights resident Robert Tagg turned his annual Christmas light show into a way to raise money for leukemia lymphoma in honor of his nephew Justin Arnold.

It all started when Tagg’s nephew was diagnosed with leukemia lymphoma in 2010. After Arnold successfully beat cancer, Tagg wanted to do something to help raise money for other families going through a similar situation. Tagg said, “It started as just me putting up lights just for the fun of it but it also turned into a good vehicle for us to spread the word and help Justin raise money for The LLS.”

The fundraiser at Tagg’s Candy Cane Lane, located at 1156 West Miner Rd. in Mayfield Hts., has raised over $20,000 since 2010. Justin Arnold, who helps out at the event each year, said, “There is a two-hour window where cars stop and park on the side of the road to enjoy the light show. Some people get out to donate and/or take pictures with Santa.

“We serve hot chocolate, candy canes, and an assortment of different desserts. It’s a fun event that raises money for a cause very close to our hearts,” Arnold said.

Although this fundraiser is only one day a year, usually a Saturday in early December, money is donated all throughout the holiday season. Tagg said, “We put up a donation box outside while the lights are up, [and] they can mail a check to us or your house. They can also go online to make a donation.”

Tagg has put in a lot of effort to spread the word about the event. He said, “It started with Gina Arnold and Lynette Tagg telling people, and Jeff Arnold made flyers that everyone gave out to everyone they could. I called all the news channels and a couple years later they did stories. I had the announcements before the show talked about the date, and as the years went on it spread.”

This fundraiser that originally started to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) has now become a tradition for families all over the community. Tagg said, “Now everyone gets calls as soon as Halloween is over wanting to know when the lights are going up and when we are doing a night with Santa fundraiser.”

Tagg’s lights that were previously done whenever he had time have turned into a process that takes countless hours. He said, “I started with a couple hundred but now we are over 10,000. The two trees up front are 6,400 alone and each of the six bushes up front have 400!”

Tagg also taught himself how to synchronize the lights to the music in order to make his idea a reality. He said, “I ordered some of the control boxes and software and basically taught myself. The company that makes the Equipment told me when I ordered it that it was the first time they ever shipped to Ohio and the owner even called to help walk me through setting it up.”

After Thanksgiving dinner, Tagg usually goes home and sets up lights all throughout the night if he hasn’t finished yet. He said, “My goal is always [to finish by] Thanksgiving night. We have a ton of people that tell us that’s part of their Holiday tradition to come see the lights after Thanksgiving dinner but sometimes they aren’t all up or the kinks aren’t all worked out so I’d say officially Dec 1st. Then we do 5-9pm on weekdays and 5-11pm on weekends and then our last night is New Year’s Eve.”

The event continues to evolve each year and changes are made to help attract more people. Arnold said, “Over the years we have added a Santa Claus to the fundraiser. Our cousin Paul Monastro has volunteered to be Santa the past two years, and we’ve noticed that the same families have come to have their kids take photos with Santa and also make a donation.”

According to Arnold, Tagg’s Candy Cane Lane has brought so many people joy over the years and has also been a great way to raise money for The Leukemia Lymphoma Society.  Arnold said, “I am a cancer survivor, and I have many close friends and family that have been affected by cancer. I see it as a great way to give back and help out those in need.”