When Mark Koors was a kid, a neighbor decked out his home with a huge light display for the holidays. “I was like, When I grow up, I wanna be like him,” says the Independence, Kentucky, resident.
On Wednesday, Dec. 23, Koors will be featured on ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight, a series that pits homes across the country against each other to determine who has the best home light display to win a $50,000 prize.
Koors estimates he uses well over 100,000 lights to decorate his front, side, and back yards. He starts decorating at the end of the September, beginning with the back and side yards so he doesn’t have too much Christmas cheer to tuck behind his Halloween display. From the strands of lights to the blow-up elves and toy soldiers to an armchair Santa that greets visitors at the front door, Koors’s favorite decorations are the oversized snowflakes that cover the roof and sides of his home.
On an average weeknight, about 2,000 people check out the display, which includes a walking path from the garage into the backyard. On Christmas Eve, traditionally the most popular night for visitors, Koors estimates that 8,000 people show up. “They lined down my driveway, up my street to the stop sign that’s four houses up, and down into the cul-de-sac,” he says.
Producers from The Great Christmas Light Fight first contacted Koors in 2018, after learning about his impressive display through Cincy Xmas Lights, a Facebook group that catalogues the best Christmas light displays in the tristate area. Due to a family illness, Koors declined the invitation, so ABC reached out again the following year.
Koors was thrilled, saying “one of my dreams was to be on that show,” and accepted the invitation. Filming took place over three days in November of last year, sometimes lasting from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. the following day.
This year, Koors’s home is also featured on the northern Kentucky route of the Gold Star Express, a partnership between Gold Star, Cincy Xmas Lights, and a local blogger who goes by the name the Captain of the Kids. Light seekers can choose from four different routes, which each feature five to eight spectacular lit-up homes and can take anywhere from 40 minutes to two-and-a-half hours to drive. Find detailed information, including addresses and maps, on Captain of the Kids blog page, which also provides details about each display, including if it’s set to music.
Koors will be watching The Great Christmas Light Fight Wednesday night to see his home debut on the big screen. “I started with 10 strings of lights, and it kept growing every year until it got this big. It was by accident,” says Koors, but he’s mighty pleased about it. “I love Christmas. I always did.”