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Dick and Kay Winter of Valley City took first place in the Valley City Area Chamber of Commerceâs home decorating contest this year. Dick, who takes pride in his yard, said, âIt really makes you feel good; I get a lot of satisfaction on (compliments).â
The home and business decorating contest is held annually by the Chamber. They put out calls for nominations earlier this month. Kay Vinje, office manager for the Chamber, told the Times-Record that anybody can call in and nominate their own home or business or somebody elseâs.
The contest was judged by the Litchville Homemakers group from Dec. 10-14.
Dick said when he starts putting up Christmas lights for the year, he doesnât stick to a specific plan or theme; rather, he just uses his imagination.
âI use a lot of little trees and put lights on them,â Dick said of the 12 artificial trees he has in his yard.
He puts the trees in a flower pot and places them appropriately throughout his yard.
âI can move them around where I want them, and the rest is just your imagination,â Dick said.
The retired farmer said heâs always had a passion for keeping his yard looking nice but has devoutly decorated for Christmas since he moved from a farm to Valley City in 1995.
Dick said when he first came to town, he and his wife had received a lawn of the week award, âbecause Iâm a perfectionist on the yard.â
âThere really isnât anything out of place. Iâm just that way; thatâs the way I was when I farmed.â
Dick says he tries to change up the decorations a bit every year.
âAbout every couple years or so, we come up with a different idea,â he said. âIâve got some ideas for next year already.â
Dick says he enjoys Christmas lights because they get people in the mood for the Christmas season.
âOur kids come home for Christmas,â he said. âWe really look forward to it.â
The couple is very particular about not overdoing their lights, though.
âMy wife says you donât want to overdo it, and thatâs true. Thatâs where she comes in â sheâs my general advisor,â Dick said.
He plans to continue putting up Christmas lights every year, and he hopes others do too.
âItâs amazing how many people donât even put up a light. You canât let (the tradition) die,â Dick said.
âMy philosophy in life is we can make our place very attractive, whether itâs the yard or the Christmas trees, itâs part of the community,â he continued. âAs long as Iâm up and going Iâm going to be doing something to keep them on their toes.â
Dick puts his lights up before Thanksgiving when the weather is a bit warmer, and he lights them up for the first time the day after Thanksgiving. The lights, set to an automatic timer, faithfully start twinkling everyday at 4:30 p.m. until New Years Day.
Their house is located at 1301 Sixth Avenue N.E.
Delair Barnet at 138 Eighth Street N.E. took second place, and Douglas Larson at 439 10th Avenue S.W. placed third. Duttonâs Valley Gallery placed first in the business decorating contest.