OBX’s special ‘Christmas Houses’
The Facendas’ Kitty Hawk Christmas Land

By on November 28, 2023

(Photos courtesy of the Facenda Family)
(Photos courtesy of the Facenda Family)
(Photos courtesy of the Facenda Family)
(Photos courtesy of the Facenda Family)
(Photos courtesy of the Facenda Family)
(Photos courtesy of the Facenda Family)
Addie and Judson Alexander explore the Facenda Christmas House.
(Photos courtesy of the Facenda Family)
(Photos courtesy of the Facenda Family)
(Photos courtesy of the Facenda Family)
(Photos courtesy of the Facenda Family)
(Photos courtesy of the Facenda Family)
previous arrow
next arrow
(This is part of an ongoing Voice series on the OBX’s special ‘Christmas Houses’)
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.”

Even in the summer months, when the kids in Tony Facenda’s neighborhood ride by on their bikes and see him doing any kind of work in the yard, they are quick to yell out, “Are you working on Christmas?”

They really associate Christmas with that,” said Facenda. “And the kids’ reactions are immeasurable. Their excitement, their laughter.”

Facenda, who was born on Christmas Day 67 years ago, began transforming his home into Kitty Hawk Christmas Land 10 years ago when his grandchildren moved overseas and couldn’t spend the holidays with him and his wife, Karen.

Each year, he begins the transformation on Labor Day weekend. The elaborate process includes building and setting up thousands of lights in addition to various themed areas. In the front yard, Facenda sets up what he and his wife Karen call Fantasy Land, which is filled with a multitude of blow-up characters from your favorite movies, shows, and Christmas stories, as well as a nativity scene and a 12-foot Christmas tree.

In the side yard, Facenda sets up a 32-foot light tunnel equipped with 10,000 Christmas lights that visitors can walk through. The tunnel is five feet wide and seven feet tall and made of PVC pipe. Facenda came up with this idea after seeing a light tunnel while visiting his grandchildren in South Korea. He built the entire structure himself with some design tips from an engineer friend. It takes about 30-40 hours of manpower to erect.

“It’s like scattered legos,” said Facenda.

The tunnel opens up into Train Land in the backyard, which contains a 32×16-foot area with eight electric trains moving at the same time, followed by a Christmas tree forest with 60 lit up trees. At its heart, the forest contains a gas fire pit surrounded by seats which provides a cozy place for visitors to take in the festive scene around them. Inside their garage is Toy Land, featuring a collection of the family’s favorite toys, including ones that belonged to his wife when she was a child, and some from his children’s youth.

This year, Facenda has expanded Train Land and the Christmas Tree Forest, and has added dozens of new characters to Fantasy Land. The 12-foot Christmas tree is another new addition. A pastor at Still Waters Baptist Church in Nags Head, Facenda has a counseling ministry there where he’s used to dealing with challenges in people’s lives.  So coming home and working on Christmas Land is a creative outlet for him.

“It’s just relaxing to go there. And I can be as creative as I want,” he said. “I enjoy putting it up and I enjoy taking it down. The mechanical part of it is extremely awesome for me if I go out there, no cell phone, I’m just in a zone. I can work for hours and come back physically exhausted and physically refreshed at the same time. It’s really amazing.”

Facenda estimates he does around 90% of the physical work but says he couldn’t do it without Karen’s support and artistic eye.

“She’s my artistic advisor,” he said, explaining that they work well together, after 48 years of marriage and working in the church together for all these years.

“She really has an eye. She’s very artistic, very astute, and she picks up on small things that make a huge difference. She has been immeasurable with what she does, besides allowing me to do it and spend all this money. She’s very kind to me.”

For as much as he enjoys the effort, Facenda says his favorite part seeing people’s reactions. One of his favorite memories was a visit last year from an elderly woman who was in the final stages of life and knew it would be her last Christmas.

“To see her joy, her excitement at Christmas Land was really pretty awesome,” recounted Facenda.

The Facendas had around 300 visitors over Thanksgiving weekend and expect around 2,000 total for the season. They will be open until Jan. 3, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends, except for the week before, during and after Christmas when they are open until 11.

The Facendas don’t have a ton of acreage on their property, but they try to maximize the space they do have. They had a couple call the other day from Virginia and he told them. “It’s not Busch Gardens, but we’d love to have you come.” And many have made it a family tradition to come each year.

“I’m encouraged because they’re encouraged,” said Facenda. “It brightens their day and gives them a smile on their face and a pep in their step a little bit, you know.  We’re not curing cancer or anything, but it’s a blessing to people. And it’s fun to be able to magnify both the joy and the meaning of Christmas in a way that people can respond to.”

SEE ALSO: OBX’s special ‘Christmas Houses’ Michael Coley’s Manns Harbor Christmas show

SEE ALSO: OBX’s special ‘Christmas Houses’: The Facendas’ Kitty Hawk Christmas Land

OBX special “Christmas Houses” : From ‘Hands of Gold’ to a heart of gold, Proceeds from Mennicucci Christmas House go to fight hunger


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at mterrell@barnhillcontracting.com or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


Comments are closed.