A national television reality show is eyeing a Tamaqua area home known for elaborate holiday displays.
The casting crew of ABC-TV's Great Christmas Light Fight, a nationwide contest that debuted this year, is currently in discussion with Frank Fabrizio of Brockton regarding his spectacular 65,000-light Christmas display.
"They requested a videotape, which I sent them, and they liked it. Now I have to supply more," said Fabrizio.
The show is a short-run, seasonal reality TV contest in which 20 families from around the country fight for a $50,000 weekly prize. Contenders are chosen for their previous over-the-top designs.
The judges are Michael Moloney and Sabrina Soto from the TV show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
A local videotape was produced by Remember When Video, Fabrizio's company, and was sent to ABC, where it apparently piqued the interest of the network.
"Congratulations! We are excited to consider you for ABC's The Great Christmas Light Fight!" stated the announcement letter received Thursday by Fabrizio.
In order to advance, Fabrizio was asked to produce a second audition video in suitable format to reveal additional details about his holiday display.
"This is not the time to be humble; this is the time to brag about your Christmas light display and what makes YOU stand out," said the letter.
For the second video, Fabrizio and his mother, Theresa, were interviewed on camera, answering questions such as: How long have you been decorating? How has your display changed over the years? How many lights do you use? How long does it take to put everything up? What motivates you to do this every year? How much have you spent on lights? What is your electric bill like? What makes your house different and unique?
Theresa Fabrizio was stunned by the interest shown by the casting crew.
"It's more than we ever expected, and this is complicated, too," she said, referring to the intense qualification process.
The Fabrizio home was featured in a Dec. 13 TIMES NEWS front page story titled King of the Kilowatt.
The article showcased the work of 50-year-old Fabrizio, assisted by his mother, family and friends.
The Schuylkill Township man started decorating using outdoor lights at age 14 and has never stopped.
His display, located at 402 Green St., six miles west of Tamaqua, is done in honor of the late Francis Fabrizio, who started the tradition with his son in 1965.
"Dad would put red lights around the roof," said Fabrizio.
Eventually, Fabrizio added his own touch to dad's project and a tradition began.
Sadly, the elder Fabrizio passed away in January, 2008, but not before he saw his son earn accolades far and wide for what had grown to be a cherished father-son tradition.
17 circuit breakers
The Fabrizio display is protected by 17 circuit breakers and includes laser lights, synchronized music and lots of movement.
It is the No. 1 seasonal tourist attraction in Schuylkill Township and anchor site for Brockton's annual Arrival of Santa Parade.
A public favorite is Fabrizio's life-size teddy bear carousel. But that's only the beginning. There's a Ferris wheel that actually moves and an American flag in red, white and blue lights which appear to make the flag wave.
The panorama is totally interactive, meaning that to get the most out of it, you need to get out of your car and walk through a carefully laid out maze.
Onlookers look in amazement at a brilliant "Merry Christmas" sign, toy soldiers, and then take a walk through Toyland. There's also a 16-ft. Christmas tree with cascading lights, a fountain in motion lights, dolls, wishing well, lighthouse, and just about every popular cartoon character one can think of.
Fabrizio, a 1981 graduate of Tamaqua Area High School, tackles his yearly project with passion, sometimes working during inclement weather to complete what is generally believed to be the region's largest, private-residence Christmas display.
It's difficult, he said, to estimate the man-hours devoted to creating it. Helping are mother Theresa, brother Tom and wife Wendy, their children Matt and Dylan, Schuylkill Haven, plus friend Ray Speck of Mary D.
There also are 8,000 ground lights positioned to heighten the visual impact.
The lights add some $200 per month to the Fabrizio electric bill. In addition, improvements to the computer system this year added another $3,000. One-half of the display is computer controlled.
Fabrizio said the most frequent question from admirers is "How do you get the lights so straight?"
The Fabrizio house sits atop a knoll, giving motorists a perfect view as they turn onto the Brockton exit from US209.
Fabrizio says he begins decorating almost three months in advance of the holiday season.
He said he'll have a surprise for 2014 but it's still in the planning stages and he won't reveal details.
Fabrizio also finds time to create the holiday lighting at Tamaqua Depot Square Park and at the annual Dec. 31 Eagle Rise event at the ABC Tamaqua High Rise, the area's largest New Year's Eve celebration.