If you think putting up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving was a stretch…how about last March? That’s around the time two families in Minot start getting their Christmas lights displays ready.
The Olson’s have been putting on, what some would call, a magical light show in their yard. About two years ago the Zablotney’s joined in on the fun, turning their yard into a festival of lights.
This year with people needing something to take their minds off the pandemic, both families have some new setups that will even make the Grinch smile.
“We got into it by mistake. My wife brought some of those plastic things homes, and I had bad words to say about it,” said Barry Olson.
Barry and Judy Olson have been drawing crowds to their home on 52nd Ave. for the past 15 years.
Every night, dozens of cars camp out and watch in awe as the lights flicker to the beat of popular Christmas tunes.
“It became like an addiction I tell people. We just added on and added on. It’s gotten harder every year because we’re getting older I guess. People always ask, ‘When are you going to quit doing this?’ and I always say, ‘Next year,'” added Olson.
But not this year. Studies do show that Christmas lights can brighten up almost anyone’s mood, and the Olsons say with the pandemic, it’s just the thing to get in the holiday spirit.
Olson added, “Everybody is locked in their houses and whatever and at least it gives them something to come out and see.”
And they aren’t the only ones looking to sprinkle a little holiday cheer. Across town on 6th Street, the Zablotneys have created their own spectacular light show.
“For this year’s show, I probably started last March. I started planning and doing some of the computer work,” said Chris Zablotney.
With over 10,000 lights and probably enough extension cords to reach the North Pole and back, Chris and Dottie Zablotney say they still find new ways to make the experience different.
“The snowflakes along the walkway I added this year,” said Chris.
Dottie added, “And the candy canes on the roof we had down here last year, and we decided to put them up there this year.”
For the Olsons, after putting in about 30 hours a week for a little over a month they were all set to welcome people back this year. With all of their favorites out for display, they still had room for something new.
“This year the thing that we added, was Santa fishing in a boat. When you first come up the road, beside the manger, he’s in there with his faithful dog and he’s hooked a present,” added Judy.
With the past year being hard on everyone, maybe that present contains hope for a happy holiday and a prosperous new year.
If you aren’t in Minot and want to experience a Christmas light show in your area, here is a list of displays all across the state that you can enjoy with your family:
Jamestown and Devils Lake are encouraging the communities to get involved in lighting up the city. Jamestown’s newest display will be more than 50 large trees on Mill Hill. It also replaces its Holiday Dazzle parade with a Holiday Dazzle Neighborhood Drive-By Lighting contest. Devils Lake is having a Let it Glow lights competition (www.facebook.com/events/423193612020834/) through Dec. 27. Houses will be judged by the community and awards given to the best decorations.
Fargo: Lindenwood Park will glow nightly with 75 displays (https://fmsertoma.com/) through Dec. 31.
Grand Forks: Lincoln Park (https://www.visitgrandforks.com/blog/lights-santa-skating-and-more-all-in-lincoln-park/) displays through Dec. 31. The more adventurous can rent cross-country skis and glide through the park.