Little North Pole to Make ‘Great Christmas Light Fight’ Debut


Lights, camera…lights! The Little North Pole has been thrilling locals for more than two decades, but now everyone will get to see a piece of what Rockaway gets to enjoy each December when The Little North Pole lights up television screens across the country on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight” on Monday, December 3.

Joe Mure’s extravagant Little North Pole display in Neponsit is set to have its annual lighting for the 2018 holiday season on Saturday, December 8, but before that, the big display will appear on the small screen as part of a national holiday light competition. “The Great Christmas Light Fight” showcases the wildest and most spectacular Christmas displays in America. In each one-hour episode, four families from all around the country decorate their homes to the extreme in the hopes of winning the coveted Light Fight trophy and a $50,000 prize. This season, the Mures and their Little North Pole will be among those competing, but according to Joe Mure, it was a fight to get him to even consider doing the show.

Mure, who was familiar with the show, initially turned down the offer when producers reached out to him, asking him to be featured. “When they first called me, I said I wasn’t interested. Then they called me a second time and I said I wasn’t interested. And on the third call, they said I could win $50,000. I said I wasn’t interested in the money, but I made them a deal and said if they give it to the charity we do this for, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and they let me talk about the charity on TV, I would consider it. A few weeks later they came back and okayed it,” he said.

Last year, the Little North Pole had an early arrival, with the lighting and the big celebration leading up to it, happening almost a month earlier than usual, on November 12. However the timing was coordinated with when the producers of “The Great Christmas Light Fight” were set to film Mure’s home.  And when the show’s judge, Taniya Nayak showed up, she was in for quite a surprise.

“I had seen the show before and part of the reason I told them no was because I’d seen a bunch of the houses that were featured and they were just tremendous, 20, 30, 40 acre properties with huge light shows that were second to none. So I figured if we were going to compete against them, we wanted a fair shot to win, so we figured out a possibility to give us an edge and that’s why we had our celebration on the night that the judge showed up. On the show, you usually watch the judge come up to a house and there are 10 people outside. There’s a big difference when you pull up to a house with 10 people and when you pull up to one with 5,000,” Mure said, referring to the crowd his holiday block party draws for the annual lighting of his home to raise money for JDRF.

Mure believes the community support during last year’s filming may help give The Little North Pole the boost it needs to win on the episode that will air on ABC at 9 p.m. on Monday, December 3. Or perhaps it’s the extravagant illuminated features on his home like a real carousel, sky-high toy soldiers, an animated Santa’s workshop, or every inch of the home covered in lights. Or maybe the real winning factor will be the reason Mure puts on the display each year. “Our real intention is to really give each and every child an experience and memory of Christmas that we believe is something they’ll remember the rest of their lives. We’re looking to put smiles on as many faces as we can. At the same time, we’re raising money for juvenile diabetes research,” he said. “We’ve raised anywhere between one and two million dollars over the last 24 years and that has gone directly to JDRF. We’re hoping to continue and raise more up until a point where there’s a cure and we don’t need to do it anymore.”

With the cameras around last year, the lighting of the Little North Pole was a bit untraditional, with several takes of the lighting. “Filming the show was fun but it made it more difficult. The producer wanted to run the whole show, so it became complicated, dealing with someone that had never been to the Little North Pole and didn’t know how we usually do things. It delayed Santa coming in and giving out toys, which I wasn’t happy about because kids had to wait longer and I’m sure some went home early because of it. I think that was the negative aspect of filming, but I think people were understanding,” Mure said. However, depending on Monday’s results, Mure says it could all be worth it. “We’re hoping to win so that the charity will benefit by it, and if that takes place, then it’s a huge benefit in what we’ve done.”

Another perk is the added exposure. Appearing on the show may be the gift that keeps on giving, whether the Little North Pole wins the prize money or not. Not only will the home be featured on “The Great Christmas Light Fight,” but the home has gotten some further attention from ABC leading up to the show. On Tuesday, November 27, the Little North Pole was featured in a segment on Good Morning America and Mure says ABC’s Nightline has contacted him to film a segment on Thursday, November 29 as well. The nationwide exposure could mean more visits to the Little North Pole this holiday season and more donations towards JDRF.

Yet Mure is still hopeful the Little North Pole comes on top. “Hopefully by Monday, we’ll be declared a winner and the charity will benefit as a result. If the $50K can help make the life of a child with juvenile diabetes a little easier or better, then it’s all worth it,” Mure said.

Tune in to ABC on Monday, December 3 at 9 p.m., to find out if The Little North Pole is enough to impress the judges and take home the money for JDRF. And, stay tuned for the following weekend, when the Little North Pole (144-03 Neponsit Ave) lights up for the season with the ceremony starting at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 8.