Updated: Jan 4
One switch to rule them all. That's all it takes for Chris Fitzwater's masterful Christmas display to light up the night sky in Cheviot, Ohio. Just a flick of the wrist gives residents a reason for an evening stroll or family ride through the city of lights.
Fitzwater's interest in Christmas displays started when he was around eight years old. "I really don't remember the exact thing that got me into collecting. I just took a love for the older collectors' displays around the tri-state," said Chris Fitzwater. Pair this with his fascination with electricity and it how works, and the perfect Christmas storm began to take its shape.
In the early years of his collecting, Fitzwater would purchase displays from others as they grew older and no longer wanted the hassle of setting up a Christmas scene year after year. However, the main contributor may have very well been Fitzwater's mother, who was also a Christmas fanatic and helped him acquire lots of items throughout the years. To this day, Fitzwater still purchases between five and ten new items each year to add to his display.
The first piece which Fitzwater started his collection with was this snowman. It was purchased from Delhi Flower and Garden at their holiday storefront inside the old Forest Fair Mall.
Fitzwater starts setting up his display each year around the first of October. After Halloween, he begins putting out the array of figures. Everything you see on display is controlled by one flick of a switch. The master switch is pulled on Black Friday every year, leaving audiences in awe through January 1.
The best time to see the Miracle on Washington Avenue is from 6-9 pm every day of the week. A few days before Christmas, the display hours are extended until 10:30 or 11 pm, with weather and traffic permitting.
You may remember, Abby Erwin posed the question, "How many snowmen can you find in this Christmas Display?" Well, Chris Fitzwater has confirmed, that the answer is 36 snowmen.
Thank you, Chris, and the entire Fitzwater family, for putting on this wonderful display for the city's viewing pleasure.
Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays, Cheviot.