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A Whitestone resident known for extravagant Christmas lights is now vying to have the best display in the country.
Kevin Lynch, a retired firefighter, decorated his house, which sits at the corner of 166th Street and 23rd Avenue, with more than 300,000 lights for ABC’s “Great Christmas Light Fight,” which premieres Monday at 9 p.m.
“This is my hobby. Some people build airplanes. I do this,” he said. “I don’t do drugs. I do lights. That’s my motto.”
Lynch started putting up his light displays 18 years ago, when he first moved into his home and noticed his neighbor, Bill, had white Christmas lights up on his house.
“I thought I could put some lights on the house. Why not?” Lynch recalled.
The next year Lynch put up a few more lights. The year after that Bill put up more lights. They continued to one up each other for years afterward.
“And that was it. I just kept going,” said Lynch. “Then I had a little girl — a daughter — and that was it. I went crazy then as you can see.”
Lynch’s house now attracts people from all over the neighborhood to bask in his bright lights.
Not a single foot of his house goes untouched by Christmas decorations of some sort. Speakers boom Christmas music from his house and a TV screen projects images of Santa Claus through one of his windows. Lynch went as far as to dig up his front yard to bury wires that light the dozens of molds and figurines that populate his lawn.
“It’s a labor of love and I have to do it every year. There are so many people looking forward to this.”
Lynch refrained from telling TimesLedger Newspapers how much it costs him to light his house every year.
“It’s not about the electricity and what it costs me. This is my gift to people,” he said.
It has usually taken Lynch six to eight weeks to put his lights up in years past, but he only had 21 days to complete the display for the competition. He worked from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. every day putting his lights up until the deadline of Nov. 6.
“It was like running a marathon. I never ran a marathon, but now I know what it’s like. I was done. I lived on coffee and espresso.”
Lynch had some help from his wife, Tina, his daughters Tori and Tara and his son Timothy.
Their home was judged against three others in Georgia, California and Virginia. Judges Michael Moloney and Sabrina Soto, of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” judged contestants’ homes on lights, display and holiday spirit. The winner of the show will get $50,000.
Lynch will not know if he won the competition until the day the show airs. The show’s producer filmed the Lynch family being told they won the competition and then filmed them being told they lost.
“Win or lose, it was a great experience,” said Lynch.
Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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