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Local light display to be featured on national show

Latchford Light Display in Callao, Mo. (KTVO)

What started out for the Latchfords of Callao as just decorating their home for the holidays, 26 years later has turned into decorating their yard, their neighbor’s yard and getting national attention for the thousands of visitors who come to see it all every year.

Soon - they’ll be featured nationwide on ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight.

“I tell everybody you don’t have to be crazy to do it but it sure helps,” said Bruce Latchford with a smile. “It started out with the nativity set, and then we just kept adding and adding.”

“Started really small, and then turned into this huge thing that we have right now,” said Tina Brown, Bruce and Vicki’s daughter. “In high school, kind of embarrassing, now, it’s kind of cool because I have my own kids and nieces and nephews.”

“I like the barn and the little tree by the barn,” said Logan Brown.

“I probably have to go with him, the barn is probably one of the coolest places out here,” agreed Mallory Brown.

Now with the help of two daughters, grandkids, and neighborsthe Latchford’s yard is transformed into a winter wonderland.

“It probably takes 8 to 9 months out of our lives, because it’s gotten so big and we’re making so much stuff,” Bruce explained. “She’ll [Vicki] come in and say, ‘Hey I got something for you to cut out there,’ and she’s the painter, her and the grandkids. It’s overwhelming, even to us.”

“We pretty much know the end of September that we’re going to be here for the entire weekend and that’s when we pretty much pull everything out of the building and semi-trailers, and there’s a lot of neighbors that come down, and family that brings food, so it’s just kind of a big deal for a weekend, and every weekend after that, and every day after that, somebody’s working on it to get it ready to go,” said Tina.

The Latchfords say last year, around 16,000 people visited their home in Callao to see the lights.

“There’s always people walking through the yard,” Tina said. “There’s nights that there’ll be a couple thousand people here at a time.”

“They really enjoy the walking through aspect of it, the kids are allowed to turn the handles on things and we have several places where they can take their pictures and just really enjoy family time together,” Vicki said.

This year, the Latchfords had visitors from ABC, as the family will be featured on a nationally airing show called, The Great Christmas Light Fight.

“It puts a new outlook on TV, every time we turn on the TV now to see what it goes through just to put on a show,” said Bruce. “The producers, the cameramen and women, and sound guys, they were awesome. They were awesome. But what goes in to it is amazing.”

“They really poured their heart into I would say, they really did an awesome job,” Vicki said.

But the Latchfords never got into it for the fame, instead, slowly creating a holiday solace that becomes a sacred place to feel at peace.

“There’s lots of hugs and pictures, and you cry with people and laugh with people, and it’s just, I don’t know, an overwhelming experience sometimes,” Tina said. “We have people here hours sometimes, they’re here with their family, and we’ve had marriage proposals, and we’ve had children who’ve lost parents and they’ll be here with their grandparents trying to experience something happy for the holidays. We have nursing homes visit, and their faces just light up, some of them don’t speak because of their situation but seeing their face, we get to celebrate with all of them.”

The Latchfords told KTVO that their home will be featured on ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight on Monday the 18th.

If you’d like to see the walk-though display in person - it’s open from 5:15 to 10 every night until the first of January.

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