CLEARWATER, Fla. — Actress Crystal Hunt left Clearwater as a teenager to pursue a career in TV and movies. Over the years, fame and award nominations started piling up, but she always returned home for the holidays to relive a tradition that is so close to her heart.
“It's something my parents started when I was born and it’s just evolved and grown every single year,” said Hunt referring to the light display outside her childhood home.
“There are a couple of months of the year that my parents’ house is like going to Disney Land,” said Hunt.
Her fondness of bright lights has carried her all the way to Hollywood, where she’s currently starring in the Pure Flix show “Mood Swings,” which she created herself.
When it comes to the front yard Crystal isn’t a leading lady, she’s working hard behind the scenes.
“I might be a little partial to the gingerbread house because I built it,” said Hunt.
What she loves most is reuniting in the driveway with friends and neighbors who have been enjoying the magic for decades.
“It feels rewarding because you know how much effort and time went into it but it also means there is that many people who have been touched by everything that you did so to me that makes it all worth it,” said Hunt.
This year even Pinellas County recognized the Hunt family’s dedication. They received the most votes in their annual Christmas Lights Contest. The Hunt family is donating the $1,000 prize to the Tampa Bay Children’s Home.
“A cause that has always been near and dear to me and more importantly it is in my hometown and there is something I can do about it,” said Hunt.
Even when Crystal returns to the glamour of Hollywood, it’s the warmth of Clearwater that shines brighter than any movie set.
“My home is what made me who I am and I won’t forget where I came from,” said Hunt. “It’s just filled with all the memories and all the people that I know and love.”
The award-winning display on Meadow Hill Drive in Clearwater will continue to light up every night through mid-January.