Light The Night

Light The Night

Stewart family Christmas light display reaches national audience


When producers of the ABC television show “The Great Christmas Light Fight” scoured the country, looking for Christmas light displays spectacular enough to compete in a contest for the country’s best, they discovered Fayetteville’s Stewart family, whose sparkling holiday display has been growing ever bigger since they started with a relatively modest light show in 2003.

This year, says Kim Stewart, the spectacle will feature somewhere in the neighborhood of 750,000 Christmas lights and more than 300 holiday-themed inflatables — enough to land the family an invitation to compete on the show.

Stewart says their participation in the televised competition meant the family’s timeline had to change dramatically. She and her family and a close group of friends have worked “nonstop” since the end of the summer.

“We had to be finished a month and a half earlier than usual,” says Stewart. “We usually don’t reveal until the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but this year, we had to have it ready by Oct. 2. It meant long days and long nights, lots of hard work together.” Stewart, her husband Carlin, and their four children are the primary architects of the display, though Stewart adds that there is a core group of close family friends who help when they can.

File Photo /ANDY SHUPE
Brice, Shari, Brady and Brian Updike, take a family portrait at a previous Stewart family Christmas light display.

Stewart says those visiting the display this year can expect to find all of the elements that have made this event such a Northwest Arkansas “must see” during the holidays: In addition to the lights and inflatables, food vendor Aunt Susie’s will be offering kettle corn and hot dogs, Santa will be on hand, and the North Pole Express train will be operating. New this year are camel and pony rides.

The Stewart family continues to look for ways to use the event to give back to the community. A new $3 parking option — making parking easier and safer — will benefit area nonprofits, and the family plans to answer some of the letters to Santa that get put in Santa’s mailbox on site, this year with the help of area business Shoptology.

“Alicia [Caldera, the family friend who heads up this effort,] said that we delivered 78 presents last year, and our goal is 100 this year,” says Stewart.

Those interested in helping fund the effort can visit the family’s Go Fund Me page.

The episode of “The Great Christmas Light Fight” that featured the Stewart’s display aired Dec. 4, and the Stewarts did not win the competition. But given the joy, excitement and altruism the event provides, there’s little doubt that it’s the holiday champion in Northwest Arkansas.


Stewart Family

Light Display

WHEN — 5:30-9:30 p.m. through Jan. 1

WHERE — 4423 Wyman Road in Fayetteville

COST — $3 parking

INFO — 427-6205

DONATE — Help fund “Project Santa” by visiting


Categories: Family Friendly