Press "Enter" to skip to content

This Pasadena families’ Star Wars holiday lights made it to ‘The Great Christmas Light Fight’

Andy and Tatiani Harbeck with their holiday lights will be appearing on season 10 of ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight” in Pasadena on Thursday, December 1, 2022. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

Tatiana Harbeck remembers her husband said four words that changed all their Christmas futures. Before that, they were simply the proud new owners of a home in the fabled Hastings Ranch section of Pasadena.

They wanted to make this first Christmas special for their 2-year-old son Thomas and continue the neighborhood tradition of lighting the halls for the holidays.

“We bought a few strings of light, one or two candy canes, one reindeer,” Tatiana said. “(Thomas) loved it, he jumped up and down, it was sweet and easy.”

Then her husband said those four fateful words: “We need more lights.”

Seventeen years later, Andy and Tatiana Harbeck are starring in season 10 of ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight” airing at 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5 on ABC and streaming on Hulu. The couple were fans of the hit decorating competition series for years, checking out the most elaborate and awe-inspiring holiday displays around the country.

Now they’re one of four families facing off and competing to win $50,000 and the coveted Light Fight Trophy. Two contestants are from California — Pasadena and Ridgecrest. The others are from Kennesaw, Ga., and Mesa, Ariz.

The Harbecks created an epic light show paying homage to Star Wars that transforms into the ultimate dance party with 3D-printed décor.

“You’ll have to tune in to see if we win,” Tatiana said. “We hope to make Pasadena proud.”

of

Expand

Their neighbor, Tiffany Gardner, encouraged the couple to apply to be on the show in January 2021. They did a Zoom interview six months later and filmed their episode last November. Gardner said the Harbecks are unique because they make most of their display by hand.

“You can’t buy their display anywhere,” she said. “Andy is so creative. He designs each piece and makes it himself, and Tatiana helps him put everything together. The whole family participates in setting up the display. Each year he adds to it and makes the Harbeck Lights show bigger and better. The best thing is that there are more lights on their block thanks to them. They’re a wonderful family.”

Andy and Tatiani Harbeck with their holiday lights will be appearing on season 10 of ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight” in Pasadena on Thursday, December 1, 2022. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

The past two pandemic Christmases were especially poignant, Tatiana said.

“People would call us and ask how much is admission per car, and when we told them it was free, you could hear how happy they were,” she said. “You’d hear them say, ‘Let’s go, kids!’ before they hung up. That makes us happy.”

Andy, an animator at DreamWorks Animation, is the visionary, coming up with designs and plans and running their two 3D printers ragged. Tatiana frets about finding storage for all the lights and decorations. Their sons work the set up and takedown. Thomas, now 19, just started college at UC Santa Barbara and Martin, 16, is a student at Pasadena High School.

Volunteers from the neighborhood, including students from La Salle College Preparatory High School down the street, also pitch in to make “Harbeck Lights” at 1215 Tropical Avenue, the brightest home in the block.

“There’s no break,” Tatiana said of the work. “But when I don’t hear the sound of the 3D printers, I look for it.”

This year’s production includes a 17-minute animated LED-light show set to music. The family picked songs such as “The Carol of the Bells,” “Nutrocker,” “Star Wars Disco” and songs from the movies “Home Alone” and “Trolls.”

Full neighborhood light-up kicks off on Saturday, Dec. 10, marking the 70th anniversary of the Upper Hastings Ranch Association’s holiday displays. Lights will be on from 5:30 to 10 p.m. daily. The Harbecks pass out candy canes on some nights, the better to see people enjoying their labor of love.

Andy and Tatiani Harbeck with their holiday lights will be appearing on season 10 of ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight” in Pasadena on Thursday, December 1, 2022. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

“It’s fun to see people taking pictures,” Andy said. “It’s nice to be part of the tradition.”

“They stop us and ask Andy questions, it’s special,” Tatiana said.

Andy even came up with their own holiday character, Winston the Christmas Wisp, voiced by son Thomas on Instagram. The Harbecks have been called Hastings Ranch legends for their annual display, all due to her husband’s “crazy amazing” talents, Tatiana said.

“It’s a good crazy,” she said. “And we have a good balance.”

Their son Martin inspired a popular selfie spot, angel wings made from 300 water bottles used during his soccer games. It is also animated, changing colors and patterns.

This is a good sign, Andy said, since “we’re going to do this till the boys take over.”

Lighting up their home comes with a more expensive electric bill for one, and no holiday vacations to Tatiana’s family in Colombia. But the couple, married 23 years, said they’ll keep going as long as their work lights up people’s holidays.

Andy and Tatiani Harbeck with their holiday lights will be appearing on season 10 of ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight” in Pasadena on Thursday, December 1, 2022. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

Tatiana remembers going to the Medellin River in Colombia to watch lights on the water, and Andy once drove around his Illinois neighborhood, filming the lights and setting it to music.

“We have a sign over here,” Tatiana said. “Share the love. That’s what we do.”

Of course, Tatiana said she teases Andy every year that she will make him sign a contract pledging he will stop his bigger and brighter Christmas ideas. Her husband shrugs, knowing she will be right by him setting up again next year.

“We haven’t signed a contract yet,” he said, smiling.


Source: Orange County Register

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: