Christmas Light 'Tacky Tours' Spawn Online Community
FoxNews.com – Entertainment – December 12, 2008 – Chris Kensler
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Matt Burgess thinks Christmas is tacky-tacular.
Burgess runs the website TackyLightTour.com, an online community for people who festoon their houses and yards every Christmas with millions of colored lights, plywood cut-out holiday characters, and massive blow-up Santas, Rudolphs and snowmen.
He got the idea for the site when he found himself spending hours planning the annual family car trip to the best Christmas lights in Richmond, Virginia.
"The process involved plotting addresses from my local newspaper on maps, then determining the best route to take throughout the city," Burgess tells FOXNews.com. "With the advent of free online mapping services, I knew there was a better way."
Burgess built the site's first version in 2004. Soon, he was getting requests from tacky people around the world to display their light shows on his site.
"So, in 2005, I opened up the site for anyone with more 10,000 Christmas lights to list their display," he says. "Traffic to the site has doubled every year since, and so has the total number of lights."
And while cities and suburbs from Green Bay to Galveston have their own "Tacky Tours," Burgess's home town of Richmond is probably the best -known Christmas-light display destination in the country.
"The first over-the-top displays in Richmond go back to the late 70's," Burgess says. "At some point in the early 80's, Richmonders started calling the unusually large number of displays the Tacky Light Tour. On any given night in December, traffic jams form around certain neighborhoods as dozens of vans, limousines and tour buses take their Tacky Light Tour."