Charles Daniels' 10 days of fame in the Patch Deck the House contest is winding down, but he said Friday he's had a fun run. There's still time to vote, by the way, by clicking here.
Columbia's Deck the House contest finalist is hoping to pull it out in the last stage of the voting period and he said he's grateful to have done so well in the first house decorating contest he's ever entered.
By popular vote, Daniels' house was Columbia Patch's winner in Patch's national decorated house contest.
Judges then selected his light extravaganza to be one of 24 finalists competing for the national grand prize of $100,000 for the winner's local school system.
"I've rather enjoyed the experience," Daniels said Friday. "It's been a lot of fun."
Daniels was the subject of five live interview segments Friday morning when WMAR-TV 2 reporter Linda So and a camera crew camped out at the Durham Road East home decked out with 250,000 miniature Christmas lights.
"I saw them come in at 4 a.m., and they were out there in the pitch dark, working with flashlights," Daniels said. "So I thought I'd turn the lights on for them."
He threw the switch to activate his quarter-million lights and transformed his dark yard into a lighted forest with streams, deer and a "Season's Greetings" message.
The camera crew was overwhelmed at the transformation, Daniels said.
"They were all hyped up," he said. "They could't believe it, they were so excited about being there and being a part of this — they had no idea."
Reporter So interviewed Daniels five times between 4:30 and 7 a.m. Friday morning.
About six neighbors stopped by to create a little crowd. Daniels and his wife, Andrea, served hot chocolate and made a party out of the television appearance.
In a nod to the contest voting period, which ends Sunday at 11:59 p.m., Daniels is keeping his display active longer than usual.
He normally shuts it down Jan. 1, but is keeping it active through Sunday.
"I've been turning it off earlier each night, but I'll keep it on through the weekend," he said.
As a finalist, Daniels won $500 to help with the explosive electric bills the display causes each year.
The light display adds about $800 to his bill each year, so he's appreciative of the financial help.
The big winner, should Daniels win, would be Howard County public schools, which would receive $100,000.
The school system has not responded to requests for comment on the contest.
Daniels' house was in 11th place of the 24 finalists as of Friday afternoon, but he isn't letting that get in the way of his excitement.
"It really has been fun," he said. "And if Patch has the contest again next year, I'll be a little better prepared."
Voting in the contest continues until 11:59 p.m. Sunday.