By Alex Robinson
Kevin Lynch’s neighborhood erupted in jubilation Monday night when the Whitestone resident won ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”
“It was craziness. There was lots of screaming, yelling and jumping around,” he said. “My whole neighborhood came down to my block to have a few drinks. People were driving by and honking their horns after the show.”
The retired firefighter decorated his house, which sits at the corner of 166th Street and 23rd Avenue, with more than 300,000 lights and hundreds of decorations in three weeks to compete in the nationwide competition.
“Every neighbor’s door opened at the same time and they came running down to my house to congratulate me. It was great,” said Lynch, who greeted more than 100 people (some in pajamas) on his front lawn as they congregated to celebrate with him.
“It’s huge for the community. Whitestone is on the map now,” he said.
The show, the first Christmas lights competition of its kind, had 20 families decorate their homes. Lynch’s home was up against three others in Georgia, California and Virginia.
Contestants’ homes were judged on lights, display and holiday spirit.
Michael Molony, of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” judged Lynch’s house and said the only fault he could find in his display was he did not have lights on his front door.
“He was very meticulous. The one thing he really loved about my house was the chords were buried under the ground,” Lynch said.
Lynch took home $50,000 in prize money, which he said he would put toward his kids’ college tuition. He said he also might take his family on vacation for putting up with his absence when he was working on his light display.
“I worked from 8 a.m. till 1 a.m. every day for three weeks,” he said. “I ran on coffee and espresso.”
Lynch said part of his winnings would definitely go to buying more lights, which he annually does on Boxing Day, the day after Chrsitmas, when the holiday trappings are on sale.
“I’m going to make it a little bigger next week. I’ve got to expand. I definitely have to do more next year,” he said.
The judges also awarded Lynch a “Bulbie” trophy, which was proudly paraded through St. Luke’s School in Whitestone Tuesday by his son, Timothy.
Lynch, who has been putting up his extravagant Christmas light display for 18 years, said he would be leaving the lights up until Jan. 6, or Twelfth Night, the last day of the Christmas celebration.
It will then take him two weeks to take everything down and pack it up for next year.
Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.