BRITT | Nine thousand Christmas lights, 12 extension cords and hours — even days — of work.
That’s what has made West Hancock eighth-grader Kevin Terhark’s annual lights display at his family’s house the brightest on Golfview Avenue in Britt.
“At first, Craig and I weren’t sure how it was going to look, but I was pleasantly surprised when he turned them on and how good they actually looked,” said Terhark’s mother, Karie.
Terhark, 15, has decorated his family’s house with strands of Christmas lights for the past three years, and each year, his display surpasses the last and brings him closer to achieving his ultimate goal: 20,000 lights and lights that synchronize with music.
Last year, he used 4,000 lights to decorate the yard, and the year before, he displayed about 2,000 along the house.
The lights, which range in color and style, are mostly purchased with money he earns mowing lawns and dogsitting, while others have been provided by his parents or his grandparents.
“It’s fun,” he said.
Throughout the year, Terhark purchases and stores the lights until it’s time to display them, and this year, he started putting the lights up — with minimal assistance from his father, Craig — in mid-September.
“I was done putting them up the day before Thanksgiving,” he said.
Every evening since then, the lights have been lit for motorists and passersby to see.
The display features lighted trees created using metal tomato cages, blinking lights surrounding lighted trees and two lighted snowflakes that connect to lights that line the driveway.
“I’m happy he got them working,” Craig said. “He kept blowing fuses and had to pull through and figure it out.”
The modern-day Clark Griswold was inspired by YouTube videos that showcase over-the-top Christmas lights displays around the world and his neighbors John Bowman and Wayne Kronemann.
“They’ve always done it, I just think he wanted to outdo them,” Karie said.
And Terhark believes he’s succeeded with this year’s display lighting nearly every tree, shrub and building in the yard and then some.
Bowman, a retired teacher who substitutes in the area, said he’s glad the Christmas lights display has given Terhark “something to do.”
“It’s been fun watching him,” he said.
Bowman said his display, which was started when he and his wife married, changes “a little bit every year,” but he doesn’t put them up or turn them on until after Thanksgiving, which means Terhark usually beats him in flipping the switch on the Christmas lights season.
Karie said her son’s display has garnered “lots of people honking as they drive by.”
And in anticipation that next year’s display will be bigger and brighter, Terhark’s parents joked they would contract him out to do other people’s Christmas lights to help pay the electric bill but said the money could also be used to buy more lights.
This lights will remain on until early January, Karie said.