Robolights, a whimsical and wacky holiday display in Palm Springs, is moving to Desert Hot Springs, as confirmed by artist Kenny Irwin’s director of business development and sales, and niece, Brittany Sorrentino.
Sorrentino told News Channel 3 a 10-acre plot was purchased for $350,000 and will eventually house Irwin’s new, commercial display.
“We’re thinking it will probably be Roboworld verses Robolights,” Sorrentino said.
Robolights will not be on display for the holiday season of 2019, instead hosted at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit running from October 2019 to May 2020.
” To know that it’s now being taken on the road and being shared across the country — it’s very special to myself and to Kenny and for our family,” Sorentino said, adding how excited Irwin is for the display to return to the Coachella Valley, hopefully by 2020.
” Kenny is always focused on the positive and bringing happiness to peoples lives so this is just another big step in doing that,” she said.
The purchase of land comes after Irwin’s display sparked uproar in the movie colony of Palm Springs over recent years. Neighbors to Irwin’s home expressed safety concerns and complaints due to the tens of thousands the exhibit draws year after year.
“It’s just a zoo it’s a riot, what it is. It’s not controlled it’s not regulated,” Fritz Koenig, one of Irwin’s neighbors.
Irwin received $125,000 from the city of Palm Springs last year to mitigate the costs of moving. There was no stipulation on that money going toward a location outside the city.
Sorrentino said this new commercial attraction in DHS will be geared less as a holiday display, moving instead toward a year-round theme park.
“His biggest and wildest dreams — he would love to have a rollercoaster of some sort,” Sorrentino said.
Desert Hot Springs Mayor Scott Matas says Irwin will face an uphill battle before developing anything on his new property.
“He’s got a long road ahead of him to develop a process as ambitious as he wants to,” Matas said.
Matas said among other concerns the city’s worried about traffic, and whether roads in the area could handle the tens of thousands of visitors Robolights attracts.
Another factor the city is considering, how the lights will affect the night sky.
“The night sky — is it going to ruin the night sky ordinance so we’d obviously have to address that with him right away and make sure that it would not do that,” Matas said. “We’ll stand by him and give in the opportunity and a fair process to do that and see where it goes.”
Irwin’s spokesperson says he’s eying 2020 for a potential reopening. This new “Roboworld” attraction will no longer free to the public.