By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on December 2, 2022
Don’t miss the Christmas spectacular at 5111 Lunar Drive in Kitty Hawk this holiday season, where Tony and Karen Facenda have transformed their yard into a “Kitty Hawk Christmas Land.”
The couple began their Christmas Wonderland 10 years ago when they became empty nesters. “With grown children, we were missing the excitement of having kids, so I started putting lights outside to brighten things up and it took off,” explained Tony Facenda, who is pastor at Still Waters Baptist Church.
The illuminating result has included an estimated 40,000 lights, a 32-foot light tunnel that empties into a train land with about 10 operating trains, as well as a toy land complete with toys from the Facenda family’s youth. Fifty festive lighted trees as well as a 15-foot North Pole and 18-foot Santa and Snowman light up the Christmas tree forest. And visitors can also take in the more than 60 inflatable holiday characters.
The lights go on nightly at 5:30 p.m. and the display runs through Jan. 3. Visitors are encouraged to park and stroll the grounds of their home that sits on about a third of an acre. The Facendas usually have a bonfire going for those who come to walk through the wonderland.
The family began getting the grounds ready for the display the week after Labor Day, said Tony, adding that it takes about 25 hours to assemble the light tunnel and 25 to 30 hours to put together the manger display.
When it comes to what motivates them to go through this major Christmas effort each year, Tony cited the fun of doing the work, but added that “most of all, the joy of seeing how others get joy — especially the kids.” He also said they love both the spiritual side of Christmas as well as the fun side of the holiday.
“On a personal level, it is a reflection of how important Christmas is to me personally,” he said. “I was born on Christmas Day. But the most important part of the season is the meaning, how God loved me so much He sent Jesus to be the sacrifice for my sins.”