Alabama family wins ABC’s ‘Great Christmas Light Fight,’ $50K prize
Two brothers in Etowah County blew the nation away during Monday night’s episode of “The Great Christmas Light Fight” on ABC, with the duo from a small Alabama community taking the $50,000 prize back to their uniquely lit home.
For Ballplay’s Mike and Donnie Gilley, the extraordinary Christmas light display is not just an annual tradition. This family affair ensures their father’s legacy continues to burn brightly, and with the televised appearance, has allowed the entire nation to see the Gilleys shine.
The late J.C. Gilley, who passed away in 2002, put together each fixture with lights and welded metal over a 20-year period, adding a new distinctive touch year-after-year from materials he had around the home. Since then, Mike and Donnie have not only kept their father’s work going, they have continued to add more and more over the past sixteen years.
“It seemed like everywhere I looked there was another moving piece,” Carter Oosterhouse, one of ABC’s judges, said on the show that aired Monday night.
Oosterhouse highlighted the attention to detail, and the creativity the late Gilley put into crafting the figures that people in the Gadsden area have enjoyed since the 1980s.
“People say, ‘Well, he must have been an engineer,’” one of the Gilley brothers told the judge. “He probably didn’t have more than an eighth-grade education.”
Between their father’s quiet genius and the brother’s commitment to his legacy, the Gilleys beat out three other impressive family displays from across the United States. Their display included two spinning footballs, spinning Christmas trees, dancing figures, a Noah’s ark with a rainbow, an Easter tomb and a Nativity scene with moving parts.
The sons cried recounting their father’s craftsmanship.
“He would be thrilled his display would be shown to the whole country,” Donnie said.
Congratulations to the Gilley brothers from Ballplay. Their Christmas display won the Great Christmas Light Fight on ABC and $50,000! pic.twitter.com/mn9Kdg44wG
— Rep. Robert Aderholt (@Robert_Aderholt) December 18, 2018
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn