John and Deborah Hird, and their home at 11 Quail Ridge Drive, have won the The Joplin Globe’s second annual Home Holiday Lighting and Decorating Contest. Their house is south of Joplin in the Wildwood subdivision.
"We have lived here since 2002, and we have done lights every single year," said John.
Decorating is a family tradition that starts at Thanksgiving for the couple and their four children. Hird said it can take up 30 hours per person to decorate the house and the grounds, which includes icicle lights around the house on the roof, wrapped trees in the front yard, decorated bushes, garland and lights along the fence, inflatables and more. They have lighted candy canes around Santa. There's also a giant fuzzy penguin with smaller inflatable penguins nearby that is popular with passersby who like to pose for photos.
Asked how many lights he uses, Hird said he wasn't sure but added that he requires "a dozen of those big storage containers" to hold them.
"I have another three tubs of those drop cords," he added.
They also have 10 different floodlights on the property that are either red or green and tend to bathe everything in a Christmas glow.
In the side yard are red, white and blue lights and a "God bless America" sign.
The contest this year was sponsored by Pearl Bros. True Value Hardware, 617 S. Main St., Joplin, which will present the winner with a $100 gift certificate.
All residents who submitted nominations have agreed to keep their lights on from 6 to 9 p.m. daily through Christmas for public viewing.
The contest opened on Thanksgiving and ran through Dec. 13. Any residence in the Globe's circulation area could enter, but businesses not were eligible. Readers could nominate a residence but must have the resident's permission. The person who did the decorating is the one eligible for the prize.
Other entries for this year’s contest include:
• 6116 Highland Drive.
• 3918 Red Fox Run
• 2931 S. Park Ave.
• 1824 New Hampshire Ave.
• 2530 N. Illinois Ave.
• 1909 Bluebird Drive, in Webb City.
• 1234 Douglas Court, in Carthage.
Hird said he is used to lots of people driving by and has noted that decorating is "contagious" and has spread to other houses in that area.
"We do it because we like to try to bring a little bit more joy to the neighborhood," he said.