Matt Burgess is one of my best friends, and has been since college. He's someone I have admired since then, mainly because of his integrity and character. He is also what I would call successful on several levels, and part of the reason I admire him so much is because he achieves this success in the same way that he leads: quietly.
Growing up and living in Richmond, VA has taught Matt a lot of things, mainly that there are some crazy folks out there who like to decorate their house in the style of Clark Griswold.
As he would traverse the neighborhoods of Richmond each year in search of the tackiest house, he decided to share this passion with others. Tackylighttour.com was born.
With users uploading photos of their houses and the tackily decorated houses of their neighbors, the Web site he created for fun soon began to attract some major attention. Matt mentioned it to me, and I’m very impressed with his work.
And then I found out that he's going to be on TV this weekend. Unbeknownst to nearly everyone, Matt has a feature role in TLC's Crazy Christmas, a reality show featuring some of the houses Matt has come to love over the years.
From the press release:
Crazy Christmas Lights premieres on national television this month featuring Richmond's most celebrated Christmas tradition, the Tacky Light Tour. This new reality show from the makers of hit shows Monster Garage and Monster House debuts on The Learning Channel (TLC) at 9pm EST on December 9th. The show is already scheduled for another 5 encore presentations before Christmas and will allow viewers to get up close and see what happens when Richmond homeowners go over the top with their holiday displays.
Producers conducted a nationwide search for the biggest and brightest Christmas decorations which led them to TackyLightTour.com. Within days of viewing online pictures of the 70 plus homes in Richmond the show's producers met with Matt Burgess, founder of TackyLightTour.com, to take the Tacky Light Tour themselves. Without getting through the first stop on their tour they were already on the phone arranging for film crews and equipment to arrive in Richmond only days later. "At first I could tell they were skeptical of all I told them about the Tacky Light Tour, but they were completely blown away to see it all in person", said Burgess. According to the show's producers, Richmond's selection of decorated homes is one of the best in the country, and the sheer number of people that actually tour the homes by car, limousine and bus fit perfectly with the title of the show.
Filming began over a year ago and wrapped up earlier this month. Throughout the process, the production company made several trips to Richmond to capture as much of the decorating process as possible. Several Richmond families were filmed dealing with all that is involved with strategically placing a few hundred thousand Christmas lights and decorations onto a single home. "Its really a year round endeavor, and the minute they take them down they're planning something bigger and better for next year," explains Pamela Deutsch, Executive Producer for TLC. She adds, "I think TLC viewers will be surprised how much passion goes into the design and execution of these holiday light displays."