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Tampa Bay family competing for $50K on ABC’s ‘Great Christmas Light Fight’

A Valrico family has operated the Burton Family Light Show since 2016.
 
The Burton Family Light show in Valrico is seen in 2022. The Burton family and their home will be seen in Season 11 of "The Great Christmas Light Fight."
The Burton Family Light show in Valrico is seen in 2022. The Burton family and their home will be seen in Season 11 of "The Great Christmas Light Fight." [ Courtesy of Audra Burton ]
Published Dec. 5, 2023

A Hillsborough County family known for their over-the-top Christmas lights display will compete for a $50,000 prize on the 11th season of reality-competition series “The Great Christmas Light Fight” this December.

Audra and Rodney Burton and their home at 2014 Sydney Road in Valrico will appear on the Sunday, Dec. 10, episode set to air at 10 p.m. on ABC.

The series, in which displays are judged by the novel use of lights, overall design and Christmas spirit, generally films episodes a year in advance. In addition to the cash prize, the winning family on “The Great Christmas Light Fight” receives a light-up trophy shaped like a giant light bulb.

The Burton family’s musically choreographed display featured more than 110,000 pixel lights in 2022, as well as timed water fountains. The family documents their work designing and programming the light show on the Burton Family Light Show Facebook page.

By spring of this year, they were working on designs, and by midsummer, they were constructing it. This year, the Burtons powered up their display for in-person visitors on Sunday and plan to keep it going until January.

The couple started going big with Christmas decorating seven years ago.

“I remember when we had a dream,” Rodney Burton wrote in a Facebook post. “Back in 2016 when the dream of placing over 900 ground stakes to hold these C9 lights became a reality after Audra Woodbury Burton went to every Walgreens in town to buy every box they had in stock. That was the beginning of our addiction to lights.”

Through the sale of hot cocoa and direct donations, the Burton family raised more than $2,400 for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay and A Kitten Place animal charities last year. They also collected more than 750 pounds of donated pet food.

Last season, another Tampa Bay family competed on “The Great Christmas Light Fight.” The Lights of Palmetto display at 5220 69th St. E. in Palmetto appeared on the Season 10 finale. That nightly display returned this year, the day after Thanksgiving.