Dick and Kay Winter of Valley City took first place in the Valley City Area Chamber of Commerce’s home decorating contest this year. Dick, who takes pride in his yard, said, “It really makes you feel good; I get a lot of satisfaction on (compliments).”
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 else’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 doesn’t stick to a specific plan or theme; rather, he just uses his imagination.
“I use a lot of little trees and put lights on them,” 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.
“I can move them around where I want them, and the rest is just your imagination,” Dick said.
The retired farmer said he’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, “because I’m a perfectionist on the yard.”
“There really isn’t anything out of place. I’m just that way; that’s the way I was when I farmed.”
Dick says he tries to change up the decorations a bit every year.
“About every couple years or so, we come up with a different idea,” he said. “I’ve got some ideas for next year already.”
Dick says he enjoys Christmas lights because they get people in the mood for the Christmas season.
“Our kids come home for Christmas,” he said. “We really look forward to it.”
The couple is very particular about not overdoing their lights, though.
“My wife says you don’t want to overdo it, and that’s true. That’s where she comes in — she’s my general advisor,” Dick said.
He plans to continue putting up Christmas lights every year, and he hopes others do too.
“It’s amazing how many people don’t even put up a light. You can’t let (the tradition) die,” Dick said.
“My philosophy in life is we can make our place very attractive, whether it’s the yard or the Christmas trees, it’s part of the community,” he continued. “As long as I’m up and going I’m going to be doing something to keep them on their toes.”
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. Dutton’s Valley Gallery placed first in the business decorating contest.