Arkansas home wins ABC's 'The Great Christmas Light Fight'
CROSSETT (KATV) —
A home in Crossett won ABC's series "The Great Christmas Light Fight".
The holiday decorating competition highlights families and neighborhoods across the nation for decorating their homes in an extreme way.
Sam Finney from Finney's Christmas Wonderland in Crossett earned a finalist spot on the show.
Finney estimates his display has more than a million lights. Finney personally makes each aspect of his display.
What once was a mere dream for Finney at the age of 7, has turned into a fulfilling reality decades later.
"The inspiration of my light display probably started probably when I was about 7 or 8 years old," Finney said. "Come Christmastime mom would give us the opportunity to see a light display in the same county. It was about 15 miles from our home. It made an impression on my life. It made Christmas for us a special kind of Christmas. I always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to do a light display."
Finney is the first ever finalist from Arkansas on the show. He has been putting up Finney's Christmas Wonderland for 30 years.
"When I moved to south Arkansas, I built a house here and started my front yard and went both ways and now we cover a quarter-mile stretch of road," Finney said.
His display includes multiple themes with life-sized moving figurines with music, lights, and bubbles.
People from Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi voyage to Crossett to see the amazing display for themselves.
"We get visitors from all over the state. We get them from Mississippi, Louisiana. We have people come up from Monroe even south of Monroe from Greenville, Mississippi; Magnolia; El Dorado; Monticello. It is getting bigger and bigger in terms of the crowds," Finney said.
Finney told Channel 7 News it takes him 6 weeks to complete his display, but he is always dreaming up something new.
"I want everything to look neat. I want it to look uniform. I don't want it to look like it is just thrown up and come down and landed and there it is. I want it to look like something in a orderly manner," Finney said.
Finney's display has also caught the attention of people across the nation.
"I am really flabbergasted the attention that it's drawn, though I didn't realize I would do this much. I can't really tell you how I feel because it's just an awesome feeling."
Each year Finney takes 6 weeks to put up the display. He makes every piece in his display with multiple themes through the home.
"I was in Vietnam back in 1969. Veterans always touch my heart because our life's blood as far as this country," Finney said. "I was walking through a flea market, I am sure people have seen these little wooden toys that the kids drop a marble in the top and it goes back and forth...well, I developed that. I enlarged that to about a 10-foot item that is about 10-foot by about 10-foot. The balls, I used croquet balls instead of the marbles."
The love for this display was birthed from another love.
"My wife and I started this. She fell in there and helped me quite a bit you know? Anything I put my mind to do she would help develop it," Finney said. "I lost her three years ago this season."
With his angel's approval, Sam Finney's Christmas Wonderland continues bringing joy to all.
"I know she is looking down. I know she is smiling for me," Finney said.
Finney's Christmas Wonderland display will be available through the first of January. The episode featuring Finney competing against a man from Minnesota will air December 21.
ABC's "The Great Christmas Light Fight" is in its third season, airing Mondays on 7 p.m. CST. The winners at the end of each episode win $50,000.