BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. — A big part of the holidays is finding the best Christmas lights in the area. One Brownsville man takes it to the next level. David Markowski’s light display gets bigger and better year by year utilizing hundreds of thousands of lights.
Markowski began his light display as a child making fantastic light displays on his family home with his brother in Jackson, TN. The pair would enter an annual light show and try to best their neighbors.
“We always entered the contest and never won because we always had the smallest house in town. That kind of got me going, I guess, when I was young,” Markowski said.
Markowski continued his displays once he married his wife. In 2014, they moved to Brownsville and expanded their property. That’s when Markowski built a drive-thru and added lights year after year on over 5 acres of land.
“We say now we're over 750,000 lights. I stopped counting years ago,” Markowski said.
Markowski begins building the light display as early as Labor Day weekend and aims to have it ready by Thanksgiving every year. As the light display expands, Markowski adds different ideas year after year. In 2020, he built a 26-foot tall Christmas tree made of lights that can be driven through. Part of the additions include input from children.
The Markowski family collects submissions of Christmas drawings from kids and comes together to select four. Afterwards David Markowski creates life-sized Christmas light replicas of the four selections down to the smallest detail. They add the submissions to the light display every year.
“When these kids grow up, they'll be able to take their kids back here someday and say, ‘Look, this is what I did when I was six years old, or 10 years old,’” Markowski said.
In 2020, Markowski’s light display appeared in ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight. The show, with host Carter Oosterhouse, filmed for three days on the Markowski property. Markowski said they applied for six years to be on the show and part of what made it hard to submit was the sheer size of the display on his property.
When the family were finally selected, they made sure to impress.
“It was just amazing. The whole crew loved it. They thought it was one of the best displays they'd seen in a long time. So it was just a good honor. Just a neat, neat experience to be on that show,” he said.
The Markowski Lights will run until New Year’s Day. People can drive through the free light show from the moment it gets dark until around 10:30, Monday until Thursday. Friday to Sunday the property is open until 11 and often times will have characters like Santa Claus, Olaf the snowman and The Grinch available for pictures.