MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — “Something to look forward to in 2020 was really needed,” organizer Marley Krois said. “We needed something to look forward to, so I was like, ‘You know what? I bet we could all get together as a whole town, and put lights up on our own houses, safely.”
Marley Krois knew this was the year we needed some holiday spirit. So she took her idea to Facebook.
“I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen. I thought it was maybe going to be like 20 people.”
She strung together a map of well over 100 houses stringing lights across Mankato and North Mankato, including the Schuttes, whose massive light display includes nearly 100,000 lights and each one of their neighbors.
“Three years ago I started with a small display. Last year, I actually incorporated a couple of our neighbors and we got almost the whole cul-de-sac involved at that point, and then this year, everybody’s on board. We’ve got all the houses synchronized to the music also,” explained Kai Schutte.
Passersby can enjoy the Omega Court displays on foot or in their car, while listening to synced up Christmas music on the radio. The family says they were excited about the list and happy to be part of the Christmas magic.
“We just needed something magical around, I feel like. And this has been fun for us and fun for everyone involved,” Amelia Schutte added.
Fun for the Stevens family, too, in west Mankato.
“I think it’s really fun because it makes you feel part of something and it makes the neighborhood kind of feel tighter,” Laura Stevens said.
Stevens serves as president of the Kiwanis Club. She, too, was disappointed the big show could not go on this year, but says they’re making the most of it, and are excited to see their neighborhood sparkle with the holiday spirit.
“We’re going to put up a collection bin for Echo Food Shelf, and some other streets will do that,” Stevens stated. “So I think we feel like ‘Well this is our chance. We can give back during this year when the main one can’t happen.”
For Krois, the response has been stunning, and maybe even a Christmas miracle.
“You’re really doing it for other people. You put them up to make other people happy. So I think that was a good reminder for everybody. Especially this year.”
Mini donuts and hot chocolate will be also available at the Omega Court light display on Dec. 18 and 19. Every night, they will also be collecting donations for local food drives.