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Dick and Kay Winter of Valley City took first place in the Valley City Area Chamber of Commerceâ€™s home decorating contest this year. Dick, who takes pride in his yard, said, â€śIt really makes you feel good; I get a lot of satisfaction on (compliments).â€ť
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 elseâ€™s.
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 doesnâ€™t stick to a specific plan or theme; rather, he just uses his imagination.
â€śI use a lot of little trees and put lights on them,â€ť 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.
â€śI can move them around where I want them, and the rest is just your imagination,â€ť Dick said.
The retired farmer said heâ€™s 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, â€śbecause Iâ€™m a perfectionist on the yard.â€ť
â€śThere really isnâ€™t anything out of place. Iâ€™m just that way; thatâ€™s the way I was when I farmed.â€ť
Dick says he tries to change up the decorations a bit every year.
â€śAbout every couple years or so, we come up with a different idea,â€ť he said. â€śIâ€™ve got some ideas for next year already.â€ť
Dick says he enjoys Christmas lights because they get people in the mood for the Christmas season.
â€śOur kids come home for Christmas,â€ť he said. â€śWe really look forward to it.â€ť
The couple is very particular about not overdoing their lights, though.
â€śMy wife says you donâ€™t want to overdo it, and thatâ€™s true. Thatâ€™s where she comes in â€” sheâ€™s my general advisor,â€ť Dick said.
He plans to continue putting up Christmas lights every year, and he hopes others do too.
â€śItâ€™s amazing how many people donâ€™t even put up a light. You canâ€™t let (the tradition) die,â€ť Dick said.
â€śMy philosophy in life is we can make our place very attractive, whether itâ€™s the yard or the Christmas trees, itâ€™s part of the community,â€ť he continued. â€śAs long as Iâ€™m up and going Iâ€™m going to be doing something to keep them on their toes.â€ť
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. Duttonâ€™s Valley Gallery placed first in the business decorating contest.