Brothers Andrew and Joseph Barbieri have been decking out their childhood home in Deer Park for Christmas for the past 40 years. Their elaborate light display will now get national attention when they appear on an episode of ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight tomorrow.
Located on Liberty Street, the Barbieris’ nightly show is called Lights on Liberty. Andrew, an electrical contractor who now lives in West Islip, synchronizes 90 animated light-up dolls and 30,000 LED lights with music, and Joseph, who still lives in the Deer Park home, helps with new ideas and setting it all up. Tons of Long Islanders come to see the show each December.
“It’s been years and years of people coming to see the display,” Andrew said. “When I was younger, there were just a few people coming to see. [Between starting] a Facebook page, being on local news and in the newspaper, and word of mouth — all of those things add to the people that come.”
“When someone says, ‘I took my daughter here, and now I’m taking my granddaughter here,’ it’s a great thing to hear,” he added. “There’s one family that comes every year on Christmas Eve. We see them every year, so now we invite them in.”
Each night, the brothers collect donations for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in a box in front of the light display. Over the years, many people would tell them that they should apply to be on the ABC Christmas light competition, but “I was too busy doing the lights!” Andrew said.
Nevertheless, Lights on Liberty eventually got on the show’s radar — ABC producers reached out to the Barbieris last fall asking them to be on the show.
“It was an awesome, once in a lifetime experience,” Andrew said. “The first day was very difficult, and we were retaking stuff. By the third day, we were like family, eating lunch and dinner together. The producers and whole crew was great.”
Being on the show fulfills a childhood dream, Andrew said. He’s been fascinated by electricity and lights since age 12, when he started Lights on Liberty 40 years ago. Every year since then, he and his brother have added new additions to the lights display.
“That’s the best part, looking forward to the new idea,” Andrew said. “We’re already discussing ‘we should do this next year.’”
On Wednesday, Dec. 9, The Great Christmas Light Fight’s season premiere will feature footage of Andrew and Joseph creating lights last year. They will compete with another family’s light show for a $50,000 prize and a Light Fight trophy.
But for Andrew, “If you’re getting on the show, you’re winning already.”
Tune in to see Lights on Liberty on The Great Christmas Light Fight on Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.
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