Christmas Expo 2014

One word for Christmas Expo 2014… WOW!

When this show started back in 2003, it was run by a bunch of decorating enthusiasts with huge hearts but not-a-clue how to bring together people, vendors and educators in a well produced event.  Let’s just say Christmas Expo has come a long way in a little over a decade.

The basics:

Christmas Expo 2014
July 17-19, 2014
Mississippi Coast Coliseum  and Convention Center
2350 Beach Blvd, Biloxi, MS 39531

ProShows took over Christmas Expo in 2013 and brought order to our chaos.  What few appreciate is the huge commitment of money, time and expertise to put on a successful tradeshow.  ProShows makes it look easy.  While they sweat the details we have a great time learning from the experts, meeting the vendors to see the latest products and visit each other to exchange ideas.  Thank goodness for ProShows.

Dropping some really important names…

In 2014 the Christmas Expo steering committee grew to include Mark Zembruski and Michael Simmons along with Jackie and Walter Monkhouse who all volunteered to choose the content of the classes. They lined up an incredible list of topics with top-notch instructors covering attendees from the beginner through to the extreme decorator.

Keynote Speaker – Jay Cone

Jay Cone is from Orlando and has had the pleasure of working on the Osborne family light show so he shared some history and inner workings of the show.  We’re not supposed to say this… but in reality he was the guy behind the scenes of Disney’s Spectacle of Lights… millions of lights dancing to the music.  He also talked about how he started a business based around Christmas lighting.

Live Video Feed with Ray Wu

Ray Wu was at Christmas Expo via a live video feed from China. I’ll admit I wasn’t sure if “Ray Wu” was a person or thing in the early days.  He’s definitely a person right in the middle of the Christmas decoration manufacturing zone of China.


Were there vendors at Christmas Expo?  OMG.  YES and they were the really good ones.  Just a few I remember:  3G Lighting Creations, Action Lighting, Christmas Done Bright, Christmas Light Show, Creative Displays, Inc., Eaton Decoration Connection, Geek My Tree, Holispheres, Joshua 1 Systems, Inc., Light-O-Rama, Reinders, Inc., Season’s Greeters, Suprtec Novelties, Universal Concepts, Winterland, Inc. and more.


And the classes… I thought I was pretty smart.  Well, maybe I am now after attending some of these incredible classes.  Here’s a sampling of what I saw:

  • Animatronic Programming with TrackSkull and Light-O-Rama
  • Animatronics – Adding Mechanical and Movers to your display
  • Audio Editing with Audacity
  • Blowmold 101
  • Blowmold Application
  • Broadcasting Your Show
  • Build It and They Will Come – managing large displays
  • Building a Christmas Web Site or Blog
  • Christmas Lights History
  • Dealing with the Media and Charities
  • Decorating 101 – Basics & Novel Anecdotes for Newbies
  • DIY – Coro and PVC
  • DIY – Decorating: Getting Down and Dirty
  • DMX Basics
  • Electrical AC/DC
  • “Fort Knox” Security for Your Display
  • Great Music, Great Programming, Great Show!
  • History of the Nativity
  • I bought into RGB, now what do I do with it?*
  • Inflatables – use, repair, storage, best brands
  • LOR Sequencing (2 part)
  • Madrix IMMERSION
  • Maximizing Your LED Investment: Repair and Modification
  • Minleon – Light Show Pro IMMERSION
  • Mr & Mrs. Claus in your display
  • Nutcracker – Advanced
  • Nutcracker/Xlights Introduction
  • Projection Mapping
  • Rasberry Pi with LOR and other sequences
  • RGB Pixels 101
  • RGB Pixels 201
  • Rope Lights – use, repair, tips and tricks
  • Securing Your Display
  • Soldering Basics
  • Soldering Hands-On
  • SuperStar Instant Sequence and the new Auto Sequence features
  • SuperStar Tips and Tricks
  • The Art & Presentation of a Christmas Display: The Holy Grail
  • The Great Christmas Light Fight Panel Discussion
  • Trees – Mini to Mega
  • Using Zara Radio in your Display
  • Video Editing
  • Wireframes

Chuck’s Favorite Class?

I had the pleasure of moderating a panel of decorators included in the 2013  TV show called ABC’s Great Christmas Light Fight.  The behind-the-scenes stories were priceless.  Seeing the real  “bulbie” award and having your picture made next to it was worth the trip to Biloxi.  Coooooooollllll.  Will the Christmas Light Fight show be back for 2014?  YES!  The executive producer of the show was at Christmas Expo looking for participants.  Get ready for another great season in 2014… there will be six episodes this year.

Shark Tank!

Seems the folks from the Shark Tank TV show were doing some fishing in the vendor hall. I’m thinking we might just see one of our own get funded soon on national TV.

White sand and good food in Biloxi

Christmas Expo may be about decorating and socializing, but in 2014 Biloxi, Mississippi is obviously a favorite vacation destination. Located along the shores of the Mississippi Gulf coast, Biloxi boasts the whitest sand beaches in the world and I now believe them.  Beautiful.  Then there were the restaurants.  Somehow I ended up at a place called “Mugshots” with every kind of hamburger imaginable.  What did I have?  A “Mac and Cheese Burger.”  Pretty sure it was really a heart attack on a bun… but at least I’ll die with a huge smile on my face.

Christmas Expo 2015

Where’s it going to be?  Don’t have a clue but you can bet I’m going to be there.  See the latest info at their website.  For more information, visit or call 800-249-3154 or 412-372-8130


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