By Paul Bonnette
Although Christmas may have come to an end and the lights are being put away, for Scott Fester, putting away the decorations gets a bit more complicated. When it comes to decorating for the holidays Scott Fester goes all out. For thousands of Bay County residents and visitors, his display at Grace Presbyterian Church on Airport Road has become a holiday tradition.
Filled with almost a million lights, a walk-thru igloo, visits from Santa, hot cocoa, Disney displays, miniature villages and snow, this Christmas display garnered national attention in 2021 after competing on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”
For Scott, this love of decorating started at a very young age.
“It all started with me and my dad when I was ten, doing Christmas lights outside. We would go outside, decorate and my dad would say that was enough, and I would want to keep on going. So, I would be outside late at night putting up more Christmas lights on our house and in our yard. It started as a little display and just grew, and we got to 750,000 lights for “The Great Christmas Light Fight” show.”
Although Scott did not take home the Grand Prize, his display has continued to grow to include more lights, 250 Christmas trees, interactive activities, a water feature, character visits, and plans to keep expanding for the future.
“In the next five years of my Christmas display, I’d like to make it bigger and better and add a drive-thru portion of the lights and add another bigger location.”
When he is not decorating for the holidays, Scott also runs Beach Stilts Entertainment which features stilt walkers, balloon artists, face-painters and more. Scott and his team can be found all over Bay County at numerous restaurants and hotels bringing smiles to members of the entire family. For Scott, entertaining is something that has always come naturally.
“I’ve always been like that fun, entertaining type of person doing weird crazy stuff. I went to Disney a lot and they have their performers there and I thought maybe I could do that also. So, I got a pair of stilts and trained and started walking in the Christmas parade with my church. It was just me having a good time and exploring new opportunities.”
For the past decade, Scott has been entertaining people by making balloon animals and stilt walking, however when the opportunity came for Scott to expand, he jumped on it.
“It all started about ten years ago when I started doing entertainment work, making balloons for Margaritaville and I got hired on as a stilt walker. Entertainment has always been something I did. That branched out into many more opportunities, so I created my own entertainment company, which is Beach Stilts Entertainment from the experience I had. Now I have face painters, balloon artists, stilt walkers, magicians, anything party related.”
Whether you know him as a stilt walking balloon artist or a Christmas display enthusiast, for Scott Fester it’s all about bringing people together and putting smiles on faces.
“What I love about performing is seeing people smile back at my humor. It’s just about the smiles and people laughing. I’m a goofball and that’s what I love about performing is seeing people respond to what I do.”