Northwoods Adventure: Christmas Lights Shine Bright In Wadena
With the holiday season coming to a close last night, many people are now preparing to take down their decorations. In Wadena, one man has his work cut out for him when it comes to taking down the Christmas lights.
“People always ask me what my electrical bill is, and I haven’t even told my wife,” G.P. Anderson, the creator of Christmas in Wadena, said.
It’s probably a good thing that G.P. Anderson’s wife doesn’t know the electrical bill as Christmas lights illuminate Southwest 3rd Street in Wadena every year. Anderson got the idea for his Christmas in Wadena while watching a Super Bowl commercial in 2006, and the lights have just gotten bigger and bigger each year.
“Two years it took to create it, and at first I had upwards of 15 minutes of songs, and now I’m up to two hours of songs,” Anderson said. “I’m just creating with more and more technology.”
During the last few weeks of December, cars park outside 414 3rd Street Southwest in Wadena and tune their radios to 88.1 FM to listen to the music that goes along with the light show.
“They can listen to all the music in the warm comforts of their car,” Anderson said. “So, you don’t hear any music outside all you hear is cars running. People don’t parallel park, people come in and they back in because we need [the space] for the amount of people that park here. We can get upwards of 75 people around here.”
The finished product at Christmas in Wadena is a sight to behold, but the work that goes into it is not to be taken for granted.
“Three miles of extension cords, there’s 47 computers […] it’s called an animated display because, as you can see, it’s quite animated,” Anderson said. “You don’t buy any of this stuff; everything you see I have to make and I have to program.”
They have to bring out the heavy machinery for the centerpiece of the display.
“This big mega-wreath behind me is 1,100 pounds, has 22,000 feet of garland on it, 27,000 lights, and we get a crane to lift it in and out,” Anderson said.
So, what do the neighbors think about all the lights on their street?
“My neighbors have been all receptive to it because this is the eleventh year and we’ve raised 14,000 dollars for Project Share of Wadena County, upwards of 4,000 pounds [of food],” Anderson said. “So, you and I aren’t worried about eating tonight, but there’s people that certainly have a genuine need.”
Southwest 3rd Street in Wadena is transformed into a movie scene every Christmas, and it doesn’t matter how many times you come you always notice something new.
“There’s just cute little elements throughout there, and if you watch the full entire show you see things that come up that always catch your eye,” Anderson said.
The final show of the season was tonight (New Year’s Day) but Christmas in Wadena will be back next December, and you can learn more information at, http://christmasinwadena.com/index.php.