Tinley man’s Christmas display dims in TV debut
BY MIKE NOLAN firstname.lastname@example.org December 31, 2013 8:20PM
A portion of Tinley Park resident Dominic Kowalczyk's yard decorated for last month's taping of the ABC program "The Great Christmas Light Fight." Kowalczyk was one of 20 homeowners around the country competing for a share of $250,000 in prize money. |
Updated: February 3, 2014 12:05PM
A Tinley Park man said his recent appearance on national television was a fun experience, even though his elaborate Christmas light display didn’t earn him a share of prize money in ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”
Dominic Kowalczyk was one of 20 homeowners from around the country picked by the show’s producers to compete, with the best light displays vying for a total of $250,000 in prizes.
Each week, four families squared off, and the episode that aired Dec. 23 featured Kowalczyk’s home. He said he’d been told about a month ago that his display, while a definite contender, wasn’t a winner, although he couldn’t divulge that to anyone until the night of the program.
In delivering the bad news, the show’s executive producer told him the winner of $50,000 for that particular episode “was between our house and one other house,” Kowalczyk said. A family in Pennsylvania claimed the cash.
A crew from the show was at his house in November — along with judges Michael Moloney and Sabrina Soto, from ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” — taping the revealing of his display.
Kowalczyk said he has done an extensive Christmas display for several years, but for the show upped the ante, including choreographing it to music and putting up more lights. He estimated his house and front yard contained 100,000 lights.
Producers of the program sought him out, contacting Kowalczyk after seeing his home featured in a book about Chicago-area homes elaborately decorated for Christmas. He completed an application last year and had pretty much forgotten about it until he was contacted in late September of this year.
Kowalczyk, for his efforts, did get a consolation prize of sorts, with the show’s executive producer telling him the crew “had more fun at our house than any other house” they visited during the course of the five-episode reality show. Dozens of his friends and family took part in the taping, “oohing and aahing” as cameras caught their reaction to the unveiling of the display.
“It was definitely fun to do,” he said. “It was interesting to see my family and friends on national TV.”
He said that about 20 people gathered at his home to watch the show. Now, he just has to con — ahem, convince — a few of them to be good sports and help in the dismantling of the holiday show.
“If I can round up six or eight friends we can take everything down in five or six hours,” Kowalczyk said. “I can normally round up a couple of people.”