Displays ‘another way to brighten up the holiday season’

Jarrod Kearby's display on Bird Drive placed second in the Family Theme category of Jasper's light contest.


JASPER — Jarrod Kearby remembers the feelings of joy and amazement holiday displays sparked in him as a child. His home on Birk Drive is currently consumed by a sprawling holiday arrangement made up of 21 inflatable decorations and more than 3,000 lights. Christmas music also seeps from a bluetooth speaker placed in his front yard.

As an adult, Kearby wants to bring to today’s youngsters the wonder that meant so much to him.

“It’s nice having a street that everybody kind of comes to to see all the lights,” he said, referring to the nearby homes that are also decked out in holiday swag, “That’s what makes it feel good — when you see cars stop out here and sit there and look at everything for three to five minutes, or whatever.”

It makes him feel like all the work that goes into designing and assembling his display is worth it. The yard art brings a smile to his son Jaxin’s face. And on any given night, Kearby knows another kid might also be gazing in awe.

It’s an objectively impressive scene. And it’s not the only one you’ll find in the Jasper area.

Friday, 15 members of the Jasper Jaycees traveled across the city to judge lights and Christmas displays at 20 homes. The local group has evaluated entrants in the annual contest — which is sponsored by the Jasper Chamber of Commerce — for about three decades.

This year’s contest categories included Best Use of Lights, Family Theme, Most Original and Most Traditional. The top three entrants in each grouping were given a medal and a yard sign that marks their placement.

Kearby placed second in the Family Theme category. Other entrants in the contest agreed with his message: the magical, intricate displays spread holiday cheer.

“Before they even done the judging, there was little kids up in the yard getting their pictures and everything taken,” said August Nash, Kearby’s neighbor and fellow competition participant. “We wasn’t even home one night and the neighbor called and said there was these little kids in the yard getting their pictures taken.”

The Birk Drive home of August and Shelley Nash placed second in the Most Original category.

That makes him feel good. Between 20,000 and 30,000 lights adorn August and his wife Shelley’s Birk Drive home, which is also surrounded by vintage blow mold santas and snowmen. They’ve entered the contest fourteen times and placed second in the Most Original class on Friday.

“It’s neat watching the little kids,” Shelley said. “They just light up seeing all the stuff. It’s neat watching the reactions that we get because we’ve gotten quite a bit.”

The Brush family on Daisy Lane won first place in the Family Theme grouping for their stunning, movement-filled scene that features music, a spinning carousel, an ice skating rink with spinning skaters, and a penguin slide. Lights wrap around the family’s house, bushes and garage. The big pieces are handcrafted by Bob and his wife, Adrienne.

The Jaycees didn’t have a grading sheet when they hopped from house to house for the judging on Friday, but those rating the displays in the Family Theme category said the array of decorations the Brushes put out would have checked all their boxes.

“We would probably base the checklist off this,” said Luke Blaiz, current treasurer and vice president-elect of the Jaycees.

Over the past 10 years, Bob and Adrienne have put out big displays that continue to grow.

“It’s a fun family thing for us to do because everybody in our family participates,” Bob said. “And then over the years, it’s just kind of become a regular thing for us. Now, it’s to the point where people in town ask us if we’re gonna be decorating and when our decorations are gonna be up.”

He concluded: “I guess in some ways, it’s just another way to brighten up the holiday season for everybody.”

The Brush family's home on Daisy Lane won first place in the Family Theme Category.


First Places

• The Brush Family - 333 Daisy Ln. (Family Theme)

• Kuper and Wylee Kippenbrock - 2905 Leslie Dr. (Most Original)

• Christopher Lyons - 321 Daisy Ln. (Most Traditional)

• Denny and Linda Luchini - 3315 Leslie Dr. (Best Use of Lights)

Family Theme

• First - The Brush Family - 333 Daisy Ln.

• Second - Jarrod Kearby - 2627 Birk Dr.

• Third - Zach Mauder - 721 E. State Road 164

Most Original

• First - Kuper and Wylee Kippenbrock - 2905 Leslie Dr.

• Second - August and Shelley Nash - 2618 Birk Dr.

• Third - Edward J. Marks - 1917 W. Fifth Ave.

Most Traditional

• First - Christopher Lyons - 321 Daisy Ln.

• Second - Mr. and Mrs. McKee - 601 E. 13th St.

• Third - James and Cecelia West - 973 Hochgesang Ave.

Best Use of Lights

• First - Denny and Linda Luchini - 3315 Leslie Dr.

• Second - Keith Meyer - 3445 St. Charles Street

• Third - Mary Ann Jacobs and Clint Sadler - 801 E. 15th St.


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