The Christmas lights go out in New Richland

There’s always that one home in many towns that’s the must-see Christmas lights house. The newfangled computer-controlled lighting displays are no match for a guy who started with one display and then got carried away in an ongoing effort to make some people happy.

In my hometown, it was Mr. Christmas — Louis Charpentier — who kept adding on until he ran out of energy last year. He died over the summer at 104, and Christmas there will never been the same.

That’s the way it was for years in tiny New Richland, Minn., — population 1,198 — where Vince and Virginia Peterson created each part of their display by hand every year.

“I don’t know, I guess maybe I was crazy,” Vince tells KEYC TV.

Maybe. But it was probably something else.

Virginia died in 2004.

“I thought we had to do for her,” he tells the Waseca County News. “It was in memorial.”

But all good must come to end, and over the weekend the end came to New Richland.

“I started two weeks ago Monday and I had a couple boys helping me and they’ve been good for a couple years helping me. And the next morning I decided, I couldn’t do it,” he says.

So he auctioned off everything he’s made over the years, hoping someone else will pick up the pieces.

He’s donating the money from the auctioned items to the New Richland Area Foundation and Trinity Lutheran Church in New Richland.