PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)– Panama City native Scott Fester has had a passion for Christmas ever since he was a child. He remembers decorating his childhood home with his family, and not wanting to stop.
“I remember I just wanted to keep going and adding more,” Fester said.
Fester has done extravagant light displays for six years now, and he’s been able to turn his passion into a Bay County holiday staple. Recently, Fester’s Christmas light show was featured on ABC’s ‘The Great Christmas Light Fight.’ Fester had the opportunity to compete for $50,000 and a grand prize light bulb trophy.
“Getting the call was like a dream come true, I had always wanted to compete on the show,” he said.
Fester’s episode aired Nov. 29, and will soon stream on other platforms.
Fester’s display features almost a million lights, and he said he starts preparing for the display in summer.
Even though Fester did not take home the grand prize, he said he wants to be able to compete again. He is already planning for 2022’s display, and Fester said if the opportunity allows, he would like to be on the show again.
“They do a competition for show alumni, so I’d love to be on that. You must have over a million lights, so I want to do that and add more trees,” he said. “No open spaces, just more lights.”
The display has gained even more following after airing on national television.
“We’ve had 10,000 people come through and see it so far. One couple even came all the way from Chicago just to see it,” he said.
Last year, the display was at Fester’s Panama City home, but this year it’s gotten so big he had to get more space. It’s located at Grace Presbyterian Church at 1415 Airport Road. It also features drive-through and walk-through elements.
The display has many interactive components including photo opportunities with Princess Elsa and Santa, a s’more and hot cocoa bar, snow, and a walk-thru igloo that actually drops in temperature. Fester said he loves Disney, so the display also contains synchronized music from popular Disney songs and Disney characters that light up.
The event is free to the public, however, the church will accept $5 donations per person and $1 for s’mores and hot chocolate. The display runs until Jan. 5 and is open nightly from 5-10 p.m. on weeknights and 5-11 p.m. on weekends. For Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it will open from 5 p.m. until midnight.