By Jennifer DiDomenico
For the News-Gazette
The Lights on Jeater Bend’s annual lights display in Celebration was featured in the Monday episode of The Great Christmas Light Fight home decorating contest show on ABC.
The episode featured three neighborhoods across the country, all competing for a chance at $50,000. The participating families were chosen through a nationwide search based on their elaborate Christmas light displays, incredible choreography and over-the-top designs. A display in Comstock, Ariz. took home the grand prize.
“Even though we didn’t win, we had a really great time,” said Celebration resident Calvin Slater, who helped orchestrate the display. “It brought us even closer together as neighbors.”
The Jeater Bend neighbors gathered Monday evening for a barbecue and watch party, where the show was projected on the side of a house.
“It was so cool to see The Lights on Jeater Bend on TV,” said Rachel Slater, Calvin Slater’s daughter. “I’m proud of my dad for all of his hard work and glad to see the overwhelming amount of support from the community. It was such a fun experience.”
Three hundred of Celebration’s residents came out for the filming of the show in October. The filming took place over a period of three days, giving viewers across the nation a look at Celebration and its close proximity to Disney World.
Television personality Carter Oosterhouse hosted the episode, sharing his reaction and thoughts about each of the displays.
“It was amazing to see Carter drive up,” said Zach Slater, Calvin Slater’s son. “Our family and neighbors put a lot of time into creating the best Christmas display, so it was a testament to our hard work that we had a chance to win the competition.”
Calvin Slater started the Lights on Jeater Bend tradition in 2010, when he and his family decorated just their own home. Over the years, more and more houses on the street have joined in the holiday spirit. With 11 decorated homes, synced music, projection screens, laser lights and fire and water elements, 2015 offers the biggest display yet.
“I don’t do this for myself, it’s too much work,” said Calvin Slater. “I do it for the enjoyment of others, the people who come all the way out here to see it.”
The episode will air again on Dec. 24.