Home displays brighten Twin Ports holidays (with videos)Holiday light displays designed to welcome the season will continue to burn brightly for at least a while, even after Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations reach their culmination.
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
Holiday light displays designed to welcome the season will continue to burn brightly for at least a while, even after Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations reach their culmination.
Duluth’s reputation for doing up the holidays continues to grow, with Bentleyville blazing brightly in Bayfront Park again this year.
But the Twin Ports are also home to a host of lavish home displays, sprinkled through neighborhoods of nearly every kind.
Tom Zeman said he has been decorating his Woodland home at 4410 Vermilion Road for about two decades.
“At first, I did it for my kids, and they encouraged me to do a little more every year. It just sort of snowballed,” he said.
Zeman’s own children are grown up now, but he’s too deep into his decorating tradition to turn back.
“I’ll keep doing it until I can’t anymore,” he said.
Zeman figures his lighting display requires about 40 hours of setup time, and once it’s up, the work never stops.
“It’s pretty much nonstop repairs. There’s never a day I don’t touch the lights,” he said.
Zeman wouldn’t even hazard a guess as to how many lights he set up this year, but it was enough to spike his monthly electric bill by about $120.
Still, Zeman said he finds setting up the display rewarding. It’s his way of spreading the holiday spirit, and the evening procession of vehicles down his street each night puts a smile on his face.
Hermantown’s Dave Johnson also has a 20-year run going with the holiday lights he sets up around his home at 5176 Morris Thomas Road.
Johnson estimates his display this year boasts 15,000 to 20,000 lights. And his electric bill?
“No comment,” he said.
“I started out just doing it for fun, and it escalated,” Johnson said of the progression of his holiday display.
He said family members pitch in setting up the decorations. “It’s a family tradition, and with the kids helping out now, there’s less work for me to do.”
Pat Stojevich of Gary has 20-plus years of expectation to fulfill, as well, when he sets up his holiday light display each winter.
He estimates about 35,000 lights are aglow around his home at 202 E. McGonagle St. this year. And that’s not the whole of Stojevich’s collection. Another three pickup loads of lights remain in storage, he said.
Stojevich also sets up and runs Morgan Park’s popular Haunted Shack each year, raising money for the Special Olympics. After packing up that event, Stojevich was pretty well spent this year.
He said he was “burnt out” and likely wouldn’t have tackled such an ambitious light display as the one that now graces his front yard. But his sons, Nathan and Logan, ages 14 and 17, were gung-ho and willing to take matters into their own hands.
“My kids were a big help,” Stojevich said.
His sons’ additions this year included a Santa’s sleigh and reindeer team strung up on cables so they appear to be in flight. The boys also assembled a choir of angels, programming the lights to synchronize with musical accompaniment.
The light show adds about $250 to $300 to Stojevich’s monthly electric bill, but he said it’s worth it.
“I get all kinds of comments from people about how we bring the holiday spirit to them each year,” he said.