For the second year in a row, Amber Zink and her family are looking to take home first place from a popular and new December event.
Organized by the Young Professionals of Jasper County, the 2018 Jasper County Light Fight will feature eight houses within the Newton area, as well as four businesses, competing to see who has the best Christmas light decorations from Valeria to Oakland Acres. Jasper County citizens began voting online Tuesday, and will last until Dec. 21. Lights are on from 6 to 10 p.m.
For the Zink family, it’s about friendly competition, Christmas spirit and family bonding.
“We love the Christmas lights. Last year, we decided to enter because we already have a crazy amount of lights anyway,” Amber said.
The Zink family spent the entirety of two days setting up the decorations. Ryan puts them up on the roof while the rest is taken care of by Amber and their two children, Emily, 14, and Jack, 6. Most of the items on the ground-level are new designs for their Christmas lights.
“We just kind of do it together,” Amber said. “It’s kind of like a fun couple days with the family.”
While it serves as a nice family-bonding activity, the community stands to benefit from the light fight as well. Jeff Holschuh, treasurer of YPJC, said people can vote once per day while visiting the lit-up homes during the evening.
“It’s basically a competition to see who likes their Christmas lights the best. We’ll give a prize for first, second and third,” Holschuh said. “People can vote once per day. Lights have to be up from 6 to 10 p.m.”
Prizes from light fight include $250 for first place, $150 for second place and $75 for third place. An equal amount of money will also be sent to the winner’s choice of charity.
The Zink family won $250 for themselves in 2017 and sent $250 to Discover Hope Ministries.
“We just liked what they stood for and all they did in the community,” Amber said. “Their minister popped into our church, and I really liked him.”
Aside from the Zink home, competing Newton addresses include: 706 S. Fifth Ave. W.; 300 E. 21st St. S.; 410 E. 10th St. S.; 614 E. 15th St. N.; 1534 S. 16th Ave. W.; 926 E. Eighth St. S.; 516 W. 16th St. N.; and 505 E. 23rd St. S.
The four businesses competing in their own category for the light fight include Edward Jones — Travis Padget, Park Centre, Skiff Medical Center and Advantage Credit Union.
Holschuh said people who are decorating their houses with Christmas lights already might as well participate in the event every year it takes place.
“It’s a great way to have some fun and to show some holiday cheer, and then also be able to give back to the community,” Holschuh said. “Last year, it was well-received. The really nice part about it is it’s not a whole lot of extra work for people to enter because they’re already decorating anyway. Why not throw your hat in the ring to see if you can win money?”
Contact Orrin Shawl at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or firstname.lastname@example.org