It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at one residence in the Magic City … and everyone’s invited to check it out.
There’s more to the big display than just the lights.
Starting Thanksgiving night, the lights at the Olson home at 1500 52nd Ave SW (off of 16th, south of the Minot Family YMCA) will be on every night through New Years Day, and you can tune into FM radio station 94.1 to see the lights dance to your favorite Christmas songs.
So what all does it take to make this all possible?
It takes a lot of counting .. “72 cords to run these five trees.” organizing .. “It looks like were running a power plant here..” and accommodating to North Dakota weather conditions to make this .. look like this.
“It’s the best time off the year …”
For about a month before Thanksgiving, Judy and Barry Olson put in nearly 30 hours a week … “It’s like a side job,” Barry said. “You don’t get paid very well for it,” he chuckled, “but it’s like a side job. And it is fun.”
… all to bring Christmas cheer to the Minot area – and they’ve been doing it for decades.
“About 15 or 20 years… Nothing better to do I guess,” Barry laughed .. “I actually hated Christmas. But then I saw animated stuff on the Internet and I said, ‘this is me.'”
The Olson’s unpack, assemble, and program everything themselves .. including the music that plays through an FM radio transmitter.
“To do one song, it probably takes a couple weeks to get it done,” Barry explained. “Then, when you watch it, you find out that it wasn’t done right then you go back and do it again.”
Not only are there miles of extension cords on the Olson’s yard, but on one Christmas tree alone, there’s about 2,000 lights.
“It’s basically a computer that’s controlled by another couple computers. And each one of these is a single light channel for certain color lights.”
All the lights are LED, so Barry said that their electric bill isn’t too high.
But, people always seem to want to give to the cause, so they ask if you feel so inclined, to donate to the Souris Valley Animal Shelter.
The lights turn on at dark and off at 10pm, and if you’re lucky, you might just be greeted by Santa Claus.