Shining achievements

By COLLEEN CURRAN  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Shining achievements

By COLLEEN CURRAN  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richmond is known as the capital of Tacky Lights.

Our local tradition of over-the-top holiday displays has been featured on plenty of national TV shows and holiday specials.

This year, another Richmond-area home is set to compete on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”

Chuck and Sherry Hudgins’ home at 6444 Little Sorrel Drive in Mechanicsville will be featured on the reality show Dec. 16. You might know their house as “Christmas Fantasyland,” from the big banner out front, or the line of brightly lit reindeer on their roof that looks like something out of a storybook.

That makes four Richmond-area homes that have garnered the national spotlight on “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”

“We’re always thrilled to come to Richmond — it’s not a coincidence we keep coming back,” said Brady Connell, executive producer for the show. “We’ve had three Richmond-area participants on the show, and two of them have been winners. I have a feeling that as long as ‘The Great Christmas Light Fight’ is on the air, we’ll keep coming back to Richmond.”

Asbury Court in western Henrico County won $50,000 on the show in 2017, Wendhurst Drive in Glen Allen won $50,000 in 2016 and Kelshire Trace in Mechanicsville first attracted the show’s attention in 2013.

“We’ve watched that show for years,” Chuck said. “When the crew was pulling into our drive, we looked at each other and said, ‘I can’t believe we’re doing this.’ ”

The crew came to film the Hudginses’ home in October last year.

“They swore us to secrecy, but it’s tough when you’ve got a cul-de-sac full of people, boom mikes and a crew,” Sherry said.

Chuck said that he’s been approached by the show before but has always declined.

“I always said, ‘Man, I can’t compete. Look at the homes on that show; those are million-dollar homes that spend beaucoup bucks.’ ”

The Hudginses have a modest colonial home in Mechanicsville that they bought in the early ’90s. Many of their decorations are handmade. But Sherry eventually persuaded her husband to give the show a shot.

“It always falls back to family for me. I didn’t have any desire to be on the show. But as much work as Chuck’s done over the years, for him to display it [on national TV] and have my family be part of it, it’s like a legacy — something that my grandchildren can have. ‘Look, we were on national TV!’ ”

The Hudginses had less than a month to get their display ready for the limelight.

“There wasn’t a day that went by where we weren’t out there for eight hours,” Sherry said.

Their house is decorated with over 70,000 lights, the string of reindeer on the roof, handmade gingerbread cutouts that represent the family, and vintage blow molds painstakingly restored by Chuck, just to name a few of the items in their super-bright display.

The Hudginses will appear on the season finale of “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”

Neighborly gestures

The first Richmond-area home to compete on “The Great Christmas Light Fight,” 7396 Kelshire Trace in Mechancisville, is owned by Matthew Satterwhite.

Satterwhite has always been a fan of the house on Little Sorrel, he said, and he told producers of the show it was worth checking out.

“He brought his daughter Hadley over to our house for years,” Chuck said. “She liked it so much, he started doing his own thing.”

Satterwhite named his display, “Hadley’s Winterland,” after his daughter.

His home now has 160,000 lights and shines super-bright. It’s an interactive display where visitors are encouraged to walk through the driveway to try the “Naughty or Nice” button, play Christmas Hero guitar and step into Christmas with a foot-activated keyboard.

This year, he lost his big tree that had a giant star dropping down, so his display will look a little different. But he’s added a 17-foot pixel tree as a new attraction.

He didn’t win the cash prize on the show, but it didn’t dampen his spirit. Every year, he works on making his display bigger and brighter.

“He wants to put Mechanicsville on the map,” Chuck said, “and make this a destination for Tacky Lights.”

Double lights on at Asbury Court

A local favorite on the Tacky Lights tour, the Phifers light up two houses, at 9604 and 9606 Asbury Court. They won big on “The Great Christmas Light Fight” in 2017.

Their double lights have returned this year, but the Phifers don’t know how much longer they can keep lighting up both houses. Their mother owned one of the houses, and she died in 2017. They’ve managed to keep the house in the family for now, but that could change.

Get out and see it while you can.

Christmas on Wendhurst

Al and Esther Thompson’s home at 9716 Wendhurst Drive in Glen Allen is one of the most-recognized homes on the tour.

Their house was featured on “CBS Sunday Morning,” “NBC Nightly News” and in USA Today as one of the top locations in the country to view Christmas lights.

This year, Al Thompson has added 145 items to his display, which is 100% handmade and has over 170,000 lights.

You can visit all four “Great Christmas Light Fight” sites this holiday. The trip should take about two to three hours, for planning purposes.

(804) 649-6151

Twitter: @collcurran

Infobox“The Great Christmas Light Fight”

Chuck and Sherry Hudgins’ episode will air on Monday, Dec. 16

ABC

Two back-to-back episodes at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., The Hudgins will appear on the 9 p.m. episode.

ReferMore Tacky Lights

For more Tacky Lights coverage and the full list of houses lighting up this year, go to https://www.richmond.com/holiday/tacky-lights.

(804) 649-6151

Twitter: @collcurran

Infobox“The Great Christmas Light Fight”

Chuck and Sherry Hudgins’ episode will air on Monday, Dec. 16

ABC

Two back-to-back episodes at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., The Hudgins will appear on the 9 p.m. episode.

ReferMore Tacky Lights

For more Tacky Lights coverage and the full list of houses lighting up this year, go to https://www.richmond.com/holiday/tacky-lights.

Receive daily news emails sent directly to your email inbox

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

ccurran@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6151

Twitter: @collcurran

Colleen Curran covers arts and entertainment for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She writes the weekly column Top Five Weekend Events.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.