The Great Christmas Light Fight: Merrick, Wethersfeld, Ponca & Seattle

Right after Thanksgiving on November 26, 2018, ABC aired the highly anticipated second episode of season 6 of the beloved reality show, The Great Christmas Light Fight. Viewers were thrilled to see four talented families compete to create the most breathtaking and mesmerizing light displays that would leave judges and spectators in awe.

With a $50,000 prize and the highly coveted Light Fight trophy at stake, the judges deliberated over the highly creative and imaginative displays before crowing the ultimate winner. Esteemed judge, Carter Oosterhouse, who himself has vast experience in the world of design and renovation, assumed the important task of deciding who walked away with the prestigious award.

The second episode of season 6 of The Great Christmas Light Fight not only provided viewers with inspiration for their own holiday light displays, but also served as a testament to the boundless creativity and innovation that can be achieved through design. With an estimated 4.66 million viewers tuning in, it was no surprise that the show once again proved to be a hit with audiences from all corners of the globe.

The Great Christmas Light Fight Displays

The Great Christmas Light Fight featuring Menashe in West Seattle
The Great Christmas Light Fight featuring Menashe in West Seattle

The contestants included the Heide family from Merrick, New York, who had transformed their lawn into a winter wonderland brimming with colorful blow molds and enchanting collectables; the Strycharz family from Wethersfield, Connecticut, who had created a rocking and high-octane show with thousands of synchronized lights; the Watchorn family from Ponca, Nebraska, who impressed the judges with dynamic and innovative decor made from used tires, old wire spools, and upcycled inflatables; and the Menashe family from Seattle, Washington, who had brought their own delightful and traditional display to the competition.

The Heide Christmas lights in Merrick, New York of the Great Christmas Light Fight

Visit Karen and Lenny, a couple of high school sweethearts from Calhoun High School’s Class of 1972, who have been adorning their splendid Yale Place home with astounding holiday decorations ever since they moved in back in 1979.

Their passion for decorating first began when Lenny decided to create his own holiday decorations, cutting out charming cartoon characters like the Smurfs, Charlie Brown, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. When their son, Philip, joined in on the fun as he got older, it became an extraordinary bonding activity for the father-son duo.

Boasting a collection of over 436 delightful seasonal plastic figures, or blow molds, the Heide family’s home has now become a must-see attraction for all those who love the holiday season. With meticulous planning, each figure is positioned in just the perfect spot to showcase their playful design.

To ensure minimal energy usage and reduce their costs, the Heide family has recently invested in LED light bulbs, which they purchase overseas for only $1 per bulb. These marvelous bulbs have helped to save nearly 5,000 watts per hour compared to traditional incandescent lights. It’s quite an impressive feat, considering the size and complexity of the display. And to top it all off, they haven’t had any blown-out lights – an achievement in itself!

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, the Heide’s hunt for the perfect decorations has been simplified. In earlier times, they used to bargain-hunt at local stores’ discount racks right after Christmas, but now they are spoilt for choice with year-round access to sites like Facebook communities and Craigslist, where decorations are available at the right price.

Every year, the Heide family’s holiday display takes on a whole new level of creativity and charm, with innovative updates to their ever-expanding collection of decorations. Open to the public after December 1st at 2509 Yale Place in Merrick, the family typically keeps their lights on from 5:30 to 9:30 pm. Although they don’t aim to win any grand prize for their decorations, their ultimate hope is that their display brings joy and a festive spirit to all who lay their eyes on it. A truly heart-warming tale!

The Strycharz Christmas lights in Wethersfield, Connecticut of the Great Christmas Light Fight

John Strycharz’s fascination with Christmas lights began at the early age of seven, and he has since nurtured this passion throughout his career. Mr. Strycharz’s accomplished journey led him into the lighting industry, initially as a DJ and subsequently as the founder of JS Productions, a thriving enterprise that specializes in lighting EDM clubs and other event venues.

Despite being successful in the commercial lighting realm, Mr. Strycharz never cancelled his love for spreading the holiday spirit through beautifully synchronized light shows. This holiday season, his suburban Hartford home is adorned with a dazzling light display anchored by 26 CHAUVET Professional Rogue fixtures, supplied by JS Productions and 4Life Entertainment. This outstanding holiday display envelopes the entire yard, stretching 110’ wide and 45’ deep. It also cleverly integrates his home with a projection of thematic gobos onto its structure, accomplished with the use of the Rogue R2 Beam and Rogue R2X Spot fixtures. Assisting in the creation are four Rogue R2X Spot and six Rogue R1 wash fixtures, positioned to the side of Mr. Strycharz’s house. He uses R1 wash units not solely as side lights but also as blinders when their zoom is adjusted. He also capitalizes on the color rendering capabilities of the washes to equal the hues of the static holiday lights he has integrated into his display.

Given the weather in Connecticut in December, Mr. Stracharz takes great pains to protect his moving fixtures from the elements. Paramount to his display is placing his Rogue R2 Beam fixtures in acrylic covers. In addition, Mr. Strycharz, with a deep sense of responsibility for the protection of his expensive fixtures, covers the Rogue R1 Wash and R2X Spot fixtures in advance of any inclement weather.

The dedication to his craft and passion for spreading joy through artistic lighting designs makes Mr. Strycharz’s display an awe-inspiring masterpiece that evokes warmth, wonder and holiday cheer in all who behold it.

The Watchorn Christmas lights in Ponca, Nebraska of the Great Christmas Light Fight

Gene and Julie’s house has become a must-see destination for families and Christmas enthusiasts alike, featuring an awe-inspiring light display with over 100,000 shining lights and around 90 inflatable Christmas decorations. This festive display is as contagious as the holiday cheer it spreads. Gene and Julie have been inviting people to their home for almost two decades, and the display has continued to grow, welcoming around 3,000 visitors every year. And that’s not all – heavy traffic constantly passes by their house to catch a glimpse of the enchantment.

Watchhorn and McDowell, the duo behind this spectacular light display, have collected a plethora of holiday decorations for more than 40 years. They have amassed more than 200 animated figures, complete with an impressive 1200 batteries to power each one. The couple’s passion and enthusiasm for the festive season is reflected in their impressive array of Christmas trees and decorations. Gene takes great pride in crafting unique pieces to add to the display, with almost 30 creations designed by him.

Their dedication to detail is also demonstrated in the care they take in setting up the display. Gene will work up to ten hours a day to ensure everything is perfectly laid out. The display includes regular fixtures, such as nearly 100 blow-up decorations, 100,000 lights, and more than two miles of extension cords. The sheer number of decorations is a testament to Gene’s passion and dedication to making the display the best it can be. The couple’s love of Christmas is the driving force behind their commitment to making sure the display is enjoyed by all, year after year.

Gene and Julie’s display has undoubtedly become a sight to behold, and they continue to keep their fans hooked year after year. Their display has become a holiday tradition and a true testament to the magic of the season. The attention to detail and the infectious passion for the festive season are evident in every corner of their display, and it’s one that will surely leave you feeling warm and cheerful inside.

The Menashe Christmas lights in Seattle, Washington of the Great Christmas Light Fight

For four decades, Jack Menashe has been adding special touches to people’s outfits as the owner of Menashe and Sons Jewelers in West Seattle. But it’s not just jewelry that Jack puts his stamp on. For over ten years, Jack has been giving people something else to admire during the holiday season – his blindingly bright Beach Dr. home that has become the must-see Christmas lights attraction in the area.

Inspired by the comedy classic, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Jack wanted to recreate the magic of the Griswold family’s extravagant holiday lights display. And over the years, his house has not only matched but exceeded it. Jack’s house sparkles with an incredible 320,000 to 340,000 Christmas lights which are strung together to create beautiful displays featuring an entire cast of festive icons ranging from plastic reindeer, snowmen, Santa Clauses, polar bears, and carousels.

But this impressive sight comes with an equally impressive electric bill. Jack pays a whopping $3,000 for the power consumed by the lights, and it takes a lot of effort to set it all up. It comes in two parts, the first is behind-the-scenes work including testing, building, and designing the displays. This takes two guys about 80 hours in total. The second part is what you see when you visit the display, which takes a team of eight full-time workers working seven days to bring the entire display to life. Joshua, Jack’s son, is the brain behind the design, and they even have an electrical engineer and a general contractor for the job.

Despite the hard work, it’s all worth it, as thousands of people gather to see the masterpiece display every year. The manger scene even became the site of a proposal! Jack says he keeps up the massive display for both the community and his family. Family is incredibly important to him, and being able to pass on a tradition to his four children, who all live in West Seattle, has been a source of inspiration.

So bundle up, hop in the car, and head down to Beach Dr. SW this holiday season to experience one of the most stunning Christmas lights displays in the Pacific Northwest. The display will run until January 5, and visitors can marvel at the beautiful light arrangements from 5 pm to 11:30 pm every day while enjoying the joy and spirit of the season.

The Great Christmas Light Fight Season 6 Episode 2 Hosts

About Taniya Nayak of the Great Christmas Light Fight

Taniya Nayak is a renowned interior designer, television personality, and lifestyle guru. She is best known for her appearance on the Food Network’s popular show, Restaurant Impossible. Taniya was the interior designer on the show for several seasons and helped transform struggling restaurants into stunning, visually-appealing spaces for a second chance at success.

Carter Oosterhouse and Taniya Nayak of The Great Christmas Light Fight
Carter Oosterhouse and Taniya Nayak of The Great Christmas Light Fight

Taniya has developed her talents over the years through her studies at the Boston Architectural College and countless interior design projects all over the country. She has been featured in numerous magazines and has also appeared on various television programs such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, HGTV’s Designed to Sell, and ABC’s Good Morning America.

With years of experience under her belt, and a keen eye for design, Taniya knows how to transform any space into something special. She has a unique ability to blend modern and traditional styles with ease to create unforgettable designs that reflect her clients’ personalities and styles. In addition to her work on Restaurant Impossible, Taniya has designed for high-profile clients such as Derek Jeter, Robert Kraft, and Eva Longoria.

Taniya is also a sought-after keynote speaker and lifestyle expert. Her ideas on style and design have been published in several of the top lifestyle blogs and magazines, and she is always ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest trends. Taniya is a trailblazer with an unmistakable style, and she is an inspiration to many. She is truly one of the best in the business today.

About Carter Oosterhouse of the Great Christmas Light Fight

Carter Oosterhouse is a well-known television personality and carpenter-turned-renovation expert. He has been featured on several home improvement shows, including Trading Spaces, Carter Can, Red Hot & Green, and Million Dollar Rooms.

Most notably, in recent years, Carter has also been involved with the restaurant industry. He is a co-owner of The Last Magnolia, a Southern-style restaurant in his hometown of Traverse City, Michigan, known for its mouth-watering dishes and charming ambiance. Carter’s expertise in design and renovation allowed him to take an active role in the restaurant’s renovation, ensuring that it met his high standards of beauty, comfort, and functionality.

In addition to his work with The Last Magnolia, Carter has also lent his talents to other notable restaurants. He has designed furniture and fixtures for Bonobo Winery, also located in Traverse City, adding his distinctive touch to the winery’s already charming decor.

Carter’s love for great design and his keen attention to details make him a perfect fit for the restaurant industry. Adding his creativity to a restaurant’s visual aesthetic can be the key to success in a competitive industry. Carter has earned a reputation for his ability to create beautiful and functional spaces in any setting, and he continues to leave his mark on restaurants throughout the country. His versatility and passion for design ensure that his contributions will continue to be sought after in the hospitality industry for years to come.

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Melinda Parker
Melinda Parker
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