For the past 5 years, you may have seen and enjoyed the Lights on 2nd Ave East, but do you know the history? Well, we are here to introduce you to Mr. and Mrs. Claus themselves!
Kortni and Bryan Longwell work intensively every year for several weeks before Halloween to seemingly bring the dream of Jack Skellington to life while they have their beautiful home decorated to the max, dressed as Mr. and Mrs. Claus and passing out candy canes and hot chocolate. This year, they came stocked with 1,000 hot chocolate cups and candy canes, which wasn’t quite enough for the trick-or-treaters of Williston!
So why did they combine the worlds of Halloween and Christmas? It turns out that while one might think it’s a love of Christmas, it was actually at the request of their son that they put up Christmas decorations as they had never done so before. “We decided to give it a shot,” the couple says. In anticipation of the harsh, cold winters, they decided to decorate during the warmer weather, a few months in advance.
Following that first year, Kortni recalls, “After trick or treating, we noticed no one was trick or treating at our house, so we turned all the lights on for attention.” Now, she excitedly reports, “the community loves it! We hear stories every year about how our house is the first stop and a lot of the kids' favorite!”
The family puts everything together without outside assistance, which is a pretty big undertaking. With Bryan in charge of the electrical, and Kortni doing most of the lighting placement, they manage beautifully. They both agree that the biggest challenge is definitely the wiring, and trying not to blow breakers.
As neither of them have a background with large scale decorating, they say they learn more every year.
So, Lights on 2nd Ave East began simply because their son wanted to see the house decorated - and goodness, did they deliver! And now they do it for the Williston community, too. What seems to really bring this all to life is that on Thanksgiving when the lights come on, you can drive up to the house and tune into 100.1FM to hear the music along with the light show, and you can continue to do this any night from 5PM to 10:30PM until January 2nd.
When asked about their favorite memories, “seeing the community's response and the kids’ smiles when they see it,” Kortni replies. “It brightens our night every night seeing people parked outside our house enjoying everything we've done.” Beyond just the community response, their friends and family are also supportive, stopping by to enjoy the lights and music themselves. It’s no wonder they’ve become somewhat of a living legend.
While the couple has never even thought about asking for donations, they did team up with the Williams County Deputy Sheriffs Association. They helped raise money and collect food for a food drive to help the Veterans of Williams County for Christmas Dinner 2 years ago.
Be sure to stop by and don’t be afraid to snap a photo and share it - You are the reason they do this every year!
“We would like to thank the community for continuing to stop by and enjoy everything. All the comments on "facebook.com/LightsOn2ndAveEast" are thoroughly enjoyed!!”