Northland Uncovered: Marcia Hales’ Park Point Home of Lights
Hales says this really is her last year of decorating for the holidays.
DULUTH, Minn.- The lights first turned on in 1998 when Marcia Hales and her husband Alan entered a city lighting competition.
“We won second place that year. He did… Although i did most of the work,” Hales said.
Aiming for a first place win, the couple started planning their decorations for the following year. But in April of ’99, Alan passed away from a heart attack.
“I kind of made it my goal to do better the next year as Alan had challenged me,” Hales said.
Friends of Alan’s built a light fountain in his memory, the first of many additions to the home and now a centerpiece to the display of lights. It wasn’t long before hales began sweeping city light competitions with wins several years in a row.
“The second year when Alan was gone, I looked outside and thought why not open the lights to the public and let them walk through?” Hales said.
But the lights quickly became about more than competition. With everything from lasers lighting the beach to cider and cookies in her garden house, Hales even got national attention in 2015 appearing on the competition reality show “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”
But after 20 years, Marcia says this her last year lighting up Park Point.
“Christmas really has become a whole lot of my life and so it’s really kind of hard to give it up,” Hales said.
Hales, now 73, says the upkeep of the lights has become more difficult with age. Rallying volunteers has even been a task.
People give hales a hard time for saying every year is her swan song.
“You’re right to say, I’m always saying it’s my last year. This year for sure. I hate to say it, but it’s been a great run and i’m not going to be able to do it anymore,” Hales said.
Marcia hopes to pass the baton on to someone who’s willing to take on the responsibility that comes with all the joys the lights bring.
And to all the people who helped her spread the spirit of Christmas over the years, she just had one thing to say-
“Thank you… And have a wonderful holiday”
Marcia Hales lights will officially turn on Friday, Dec. 14.