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Bright lights in rural Taunton

When it comes to Christmas lights, Austin and Shannon Dritz are ‘kids at heart’

Photo courtesy of Austin and Shannon Dritz Austin and Shannon Dritz, who live west of Taunton, were named the first-place winners of the Minneota Mascot’s first ever Christmas lighting contest. Austin said the lights could be seen about a mile down the road.

When they first started adding to their collection of Christmas lights, Austin and Shannon Dritz were doing something they enjoyed. But over the past few years, the display of colored lights at their rural Taunton home each December has started to catch more people’s eyes.

“We see a lot of people slow down,” as they drive by the lights, Austin Dritz said.

This year, the Dritzes decked out their house, trees and more with Christmas lights. The display stands out, especially in the rural area along County Road 7, west of Taunton. Austin Dritz estimated the lights could be seen about a mile down the road.

This year, Austin and Shannon were named the first-place winners of the Minneota Mascot’s first ever Christmas lighting contest.

Austin Dritz said that while they decided to go more all-out this year for the contest, he and Shannon already liked putting up lights for Christmas.

“We started decorating more stuff over the years,” he said. “We’re basically kids at heart.”

Going back about three years, the Dritzes started out relatively small, with lights along the eaves of their house and on a small windmill in the yard. Austin said the windmill was one of the first things the Dritzes decorated in their yard, taking down the windmill blades and using lights on the frame to turn it into a mini Christmas tree with a star on top.

Austin and Shannon started adding to the light display a little at a time if they found something they liked.

“Now we do the house, the garage, a couple of sheds, trees,” Austin Dritz said. He starts hanging up lights in October while the weather is still good, although the Dritzes usually don’t turn them on until December.

One of the new additions this year was strings of red and white lights wrapped around trees in front of the house, Dritz said. It makes the tree trunks look like candy canes.

Dritz said they’ve seen people slow down or pull into the driveway to look at the lights, and a few people even knocked on the door to compliment them.

“I was kind of shocked,” he said.

Dritz said he and Shannon plan to keep decorating their home at Christmas. Although after taking part in the light contest, “I’ll have my work cut out next year,” he said.

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