By Jeremy Wade
PLANT CITY, Fla–There’s nothing like a Christmas light show to welcome in the holidays.
Nick Rogers is carrying on the tradition with his Lights of Winter light show in Plant City running from Thanksgiving Day until New Years and everyone is welcome to the festivities. Since the Rogers family moved into their dream home this has been his dream.
The light show started in 2013 after Rogers got a job working for Disney when he was 18 years old. The event started small with just 12,000 lights and has since grown to over 40,000 this coming holiday season. He spent his first check to start the show.
“Been doing it since I’ve been working at Disney in 2013 and my very first paycheck actually went to the first controller for the light show,” said Rogers. “That’s how much I wanted to do it.”
The lights are synchronized with music. You can listen to the songs in your own car through radio station 107.5 or if you get out of your car you can hear them through speakers around the house. The Lights of Winter last year had 12 songs.
Rogers was inspired by a light show dedicated to the daughter of its founder. He did not go to the light show himself but he has met both the wife and daughter of Mr. Osborne.
“There was actually a show called the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights that closed two years ago,” said Rogers. “It had over 7 million lights that danced to music and that was one of the foundations for what made me want to do light shows.”
Rogers has gotten multiple Disney decorations since he started working for them. He also acquired a black cat from the Osborne family show that he incorporates into his light show every year.
“Whenever they shipped them to Disney, they accidentally shipped a cat from his Halloween decorations,” said Rogers.
Rogers does get help from his family to put up the decorations each year. He does all the programming for the show and will be putting the lights on a second house that is part of the light show. The family house used for the event now was designed specifically for Lights of Winter.
“This is my parent’s dream house,” said Rogers. “We built this house from scratch. Everything about this house on the outside was designed with the light show in mind. There are special outlets in different places.”
The time to put the lights up is streamlined by labeling everything specifically. Every cord, pixel light, and fixture within reason is labeled for easy storage and this expedites overall time but the additions to the show every year keep the Rogers family busy.
“Last year we started the day before Halloween and we finished Thanksgiving night,” said Rogers.
The normal traffic last year was around 20 to 50 cars a night leading up to Christmas. For Christmas Eve the Rogers’ family had about 200 to 300 cars coming to the house. He always tries to interact with people if he is home.
“Last year we had a grand opening so we had cookies and cocoa that we brought out to everybody. It’s fun to see all the reactions,” said Rogers. It’s fun to see everybody happy.”
This year was the inaugural Halloween show and Rogers would love to do more holidays. He was lucky enough to do a gender reveal for a family friend.
“I was the only person that knew the gender out of everybody,” said Rogers. “I designed the whole light show for it and at the very end it went all pink because it was a girl.”
Rogers plans to do a July 4th light show next year along with his Christmas and Halloween shows. The names of the other shows are Lights of Washington and Lights of the Wicked. Always using the acronym LOW.
For those hoping to see Nick Rogers on the Great Christmas Light Fight, he, unfortunately, is unable to appear because of his job. He has been asked about it and contacted by the show but he feels his light show would be too small. He has been at a taping for the show last year that will air this year. The couple being taped was named Mickey and Minnie Baus.
“I was actually there for the filming,” said Rogers. “They block off the whole street and the celebrity drives in.”
With Christmas nearing and the Lights of Winter starting shortly Rogers just wants everyone that comes to have a good time and know that this is done for everyone who loves the holidays.
“It’s not on a theme park level,” said Rogers. “Just pull down the driveway, follow the blue lights, make a U-turn at the end, turn your radio on, bring hot cocoa, blankets and cuddle up. Enjoy your time, I just really like to spread the holiday spirit.”