It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Mike Suess of Sleepy Eye strings electrical extension cords with four other men in bucket trucks in Sportsmen’s Park in Sleepy Eye Saturday morning. Suess said the nice weather is helping the Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights in Motion event begin its 10th season at 5 p.m., Thanksgiving night.

The holiday spirit is in full swing as Christmas decorations are being put up with haste.

In Sleepy Eye Sportsman’s Park they continue to put up Christmas lights, and the wreaths have gone up in New Ulm.

In Sleepy Eye, five men in bucket trucks laid long extension cords and Christmas lights between large trees in Sportsman’s Park in Sleepy Eye Saturday morning.

“The nice weather makes this enjoyable,” said Mike Suess of Sleepy Eye as he strung light cords from a boom truck in preparation for the Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights in Motion set to be lit at 5 p.m., Thanksgiving Night (Thursday, Nov. 23).

“This is fun, but the best part is seeing all the kids and their families enjoying it once it’s going,” said Suess.

Staff Photo by Daniel Olson Christmas lights adorn this wreath as a city worker puts the wreath together to get it on the pole. The workers went up and down Minnesota street as well as adjoining streets along the route.

“We’ve got guys in five trucks going plus a lift. This is the most help we’ve ever had stringing the lights, which is good because we were behind. We’re hoping to catch up today. We’ve got a lot to do with seven miles of extension cords,” Suess said.

“Thanks to those that help. We’ve got some giveaways planned for our 10th anniversary this year including extra photo opportunities,” he added.

Putting lights up in Sportsman’s Park was first done in 2014 when Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights was founded. Co-founder Mike Suess said the idea for the event came when co-founder Shari Hittesdorf was doing a story on the Christmas decorations Seuss had done for his house. The two then brainstormed on how to bring this to the larger Sleepy Eye community.

Special event nights with free rides and concessions are planned from, 5:40 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29; Saturday, Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30.

On Wednesday, Nov. 29, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., special needs/mobility night is set for people with wheelchairs, walkers, and other special needs and their families.

The massive light show with music at 89.1 on your FM dial in the park, began in 2014 with five holiday light displays donated by Bob Schabert of Courtland. He donated more light displays in the following years.

In 2017, the display grew to 150,000 lights and 70 lighted trees. In 2018, it grew to 200,000 lights. The display had 250,000 lights and 90 trees in 2019. In 2020, the display grew to 100 trees and 350,000 lights.

Seuss said they have expanded to using around half a million lights to cover over 115 trees. A new program instituted this year will help to cut down slightly on their workload thanks to local businesses.

“[Some] trees around the bike trail are sponsored by businesses,” Seuss said. “It takes a little bit of work off of our plate. The businesses are happy to come out and decorate them. We supply our lights and the rental lift, we would help ourselves if we need to. See how much work they can take off our plate.”

Visitors can drive or walk through. All light displays use energy-efficient LED lights.

Donations help purchase future displays and supplies. Donations can be made on Netgiver at https://donate.netgiverapp.com/nonprofits/9003856/give. Visit http://sleepyeyeholidaylights.org/ for more information.

In New Ulm, downtown is officially in the Christmas season with dozens of wreaths and trees adorned with lights. On Monday the Public Utilities Department put up the wreaths up, with help from the street department. This is the third year that wreaths and trees have been put up, with lights having been added in 2022. Every light post from 4th North to 1st South, including the adjoining streets, has been decorated with a wreath on both sides.

The wreaths are bought by the city from Hacker’s tree farm. From there they are sent to A to Zinnia, where volunteers from the New Ulm Chamber tie the lights on and put the bow on top.

The Public Utilities and Electric departments used bucket trucks to put wreaths up where necessary. Public Works Superintendent Jeff Hoffmann said it came in handy at Center

Street in between Lyric 3 Theatre and George’s Ballroom. Using a ladder would have been unsafe there due to the sloping ground. Where applicable, street department workers used ladders to hang up wreaths.

Both the wreaths and the Christmas lights will be up through New Years.


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