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Merry Christmas from The Dakotan!
Olson Decorations during the day. Check the lights out in the dark between now and New Year’s Day! (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)
Olson Decorations during the day. Check the lights out in the dark between now and New Year’s Day! (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)

Behind the Dancing Decorations 

Lydia Hoverson
 December 5, 2022
 •

The Work to Build Christmas Trees 

lydia.hoverson@mydakotan.com  

MINOT – The joys of the holidays don’t always come easily, and one couple in Minot works hard to bring people joy. 

Barry and Judy Olson, owners of Olson Decorations, have been setting up dancing lights for 20 years at their house on 1500 52nd Avenue Southwest, every night from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, where people can drive by and turn in to their radio station to which the lights are synchronized. 

It takes the Olsons about a month to set up every year. 

“Depends on if you lollygag,” said Judy Olson. “We were able to get most of it up in two weeks.” 

“The take down is always worse than the put up,” Barry Olson explained. “It’s always cold and windy.” 

The Olsons usually buy their lights the day after Christmas, though they said there’s not as many at the store as there used to be. Thankfully, they’ve stored more than enough to replace any broken ones in their garage, two storage rooms and a shed. 

“The trees, we store them in the shed,” said Barry Olson. “Everything we have, pretty much, we made.” 

(Video: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)

The Olsons have been slowly adding more and more decorations to their show, but they said it still took a while to make everything. The first year, they bought the trees, but they did not withstand the wind, which gave Barry Olson the idea of making them. 

“We used to have something new every year,” said Barry Olson. 

“I said we’re done adding, I really want to wind down,” Judy Olson laughed. “We can’t go anywhere, and we’ve got grandkids out of state.” 

Barry Olson said he could put the lights on a timer, but then he would have to put a timer on each display. Though the Olsons can leave their house some nights, they don’t feel they can go too far out of town in case something breaks. 

“Freezing rain is our enemy,” said Judy Olson. “We have learned that.” 

“Then ice gets on the circuits,” said Barry Olson. “The electricity goes through a fault breaker and even a drop of water on some of those will send a signal that something’s wrong, so it’s not going to hurt anything, it just clicks off and you have to go reset it.” 

The Olsons said it’s still entertaining to see their own lights, though they love to see other lights around town. 

Barry Olson often goes out and visits with the people in the cars, saying kids ages 3-7 seem to enjoy the lights the most. Both he and his wife have met people from all across the country. 

“We met people in Maine who had been by our house,” said Barry Olson. 

The Olsons set up Easter decorations during Spring of 2020, when many people quarantined themselves for COVID. 

“People suggested making a business out of it,” said Barry Olson. “But that would take the fun out of it.” 

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