The Great Christmas Light Fight To Feature Palmetto Home – Bradenton, FL Patch

The Great Christmas Light Fight To Feature Palmetto Home - Bradenton, FL Patch

PALMETTO, FL — With his family moving into their new Palmetto home just a couple of months before Christmas in 2017, Tommy Stallings purchased the standard outdoor holiday lights that are found at most retail stores.

But he knew he could do better.

“For the next year, I said, ‘Let’s get a little bit crazier,’” he told Patch.

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Since 2018, his extravagant Lights of Palmetto display has grown into a holiday tradition not just for his family, but for all Manatee County residents and other visitors who drive by to enjoy it.

The Stallings have garnered such a following that they were also chosen to appear in the 10th season of ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight,” a holiday decorating competition. Their episode airs Monday at 8 p.m.

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Originally from Virginia, Stallings and his wife have lived throughout Central Florida over the past 15 years – Clearwater, Tampa, Land O’Lakes.

He’s loved the Christmas season ever since he was a child.

“I’ve always just loved this time of year,” he said. “And the lights are my favorite part of it.”

Stallings had been interested in pixel holiday lights, where each light has its own RGB channel and can change into “millions of colors,” he said.

The day after their first Christmas in Palmetto, his wife, Wendy, suggested her purchase some pixel lights for the home.

“I purchased them right away because I didn’t want her to change her mind,” he said.

He bought 10,000 lights to start.

“That’s a pretty big order for your first time, but it just kind of looked bare to me,” he said. “So, I ordered another 20,000 the next year and the next year, another 50,000.”

He currently has about 110,000 pixel lights on display at his home.

“That equals over 1 million (color) channels,” he said.

The Stallings’ display is set to music, which can be heard playing from speakers on their property or by tuning in to FM station 96.1.

This year’s display features more than 100 3D printed snowflakes and a 30-foot mega tree, according to a news release from ABC.

Stallings said he has a number of staples in his display and doesn’t usually change them up – he just keeps adding to it.

Filming for “The Great Christmas Light Fight” took place during the 2021 holiday season.

“It was a blast,” he said. “Being on TV was one of the most funnest, most stressful things I’ve ever done. It was an awesome experience.”

He generally works on his holiday display year-round, purchasing new lights and planning new elements. He’s also started putting up a Halloween-themed display in October.

The Stallings also have a young daughter that seems to be following in the family tradition. Their 2-year-old, Makayla, is enamored with the dazzling display, often watching her father as he works on it.

“She loves it. She walks around saying, ‘Lights? Lights? Daddy’s lights?’” Stallings said.

This year, the Lights of Palmetto is also collecting donations for the Palmetto Police Department’s youth Christmas program, which delivers gifts and other items to children in need. Donations can be made through Venmo to @lightsofpalmetto.

Donations to enjoy the light display aren’t required, Stallings stressed. In fact, he doesn’t think anyone should ever have to pay to enjoy holiday lights.

“It bothers me that a lot of people are charging for this type of stuff,” he said. “It’s Christmas and people shouldn’t be paying to see lights.”

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