The Cambrian

Does Cambria’s Christmas Market have the best lights in America? It’ll compete on ABC show

An over-the-top annual display of Christmas lights and displays in Cambria will compete on the seventh season of ABC’s primetime contest show, “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”

The shows are set to air in November and December. The Cambria Christmas Market’s display will vie for top honors, bragging rights and a trophy, going up against three other entrants in the show’s “heavyweight category,” a classification that concentrates on light displays in community spaces.

Previous episodes of the “Light Fight” focused on families with extravagant Christmas displays. In each “Light Fight” episode, the two celebrity judges crown a winner from four competing displays. The judges are Carter Oosterhouse of “Trading Spaces” fame and Taniya Nayak, an interior designer who rose to prominence on “Restaurant Impossible.”

When Mary Ann Carson, executive director of Cambria’s Chamber of Commerce, heard about the market’s competition on “Light Fight,” she was “flabbergasted,” she said. “Isn’t that wonderful! Great news, great exposure. We couldn’t ask for more.”

She said it’s especially a bonus since the market itself brings visitors to town during a traditionally slow time of year in the small coastal town.

For the past seven years, the Cambria Christmas Market has been a holiday feature at the Cambria Pines Lodge. Last year’s market featured about 2 million lights, dozens of vignettes, live music, train rides, Santa, vendor booths, food, drinks (including warm glühwein, or “glowing wine”) and more.

The lodge’s event is based on traditional European Christmas markets.

The 2019 Cambria market opens Nov. 29 and will be open most nights through Dec. 23. The Christmas Market light show is the brainchild of Dirk Winter, owner of the Lodge and Moonstone Properties, who is a huge fan of German Christmas traditions and European-style holiday fairs.

He, his family and his staff “are so excited and honored” to be participating in the Light Fight show, according to Mike Arnold, market coordinator.

“Our staff puts so much time and effort into our display, and we are all really passionate about spreading the Christmas spirit,” Arnold said.

A trademark display at the winter wonderland is the tunnel of lights, an arched rainbow of Christmas bulbs through which attendees walk. It may well be the most frequently photographed feature of the event.

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune