Large Christmas Display Lights Up Northwest Iowa Family Farm
A northwest Iowa family is bringing holiday cheer to their part of the state with a massive country Christmas lights display.
Rob Scheitler grins ear-to-ear as he walks through his Le Mars family farm greeting visitors.
"Go ahead guys, there's a path right here," he said to a family that had just arrived.
His family's country lights display, “Christmas Acres”, boasts more than 150,000 lights and around 1,300 plastic figurines and sculptures.
"The kids come down the road and they see that big Santa, they're going 'wow look at that!' -Rob Scheitler
Scheitler says his favorite part is interacting with the people who stop by.
“I try and be out here every night, especially on weekends when it is busy,” he said. “We’ll have our tables set up at the end of the driveway with all the candy canes for the kids. On weekends when it is busy, I will be out here with three or four other people just to keep handing out candy canes.”
The display has been attracting visitors from in and out-of-state for 22 years.
Scheitler says it has grown so much over the last two decades that it takes up two acres of his family's own property and even extends into two of their neighbors’ fields. The whole display requires two power supplies and 25 main electrical feeds to operate. The Scheitlers break the display down into circuits, so each item in the display has a particular spot it goes into every year.
"When we drove down the hill we couldn't believe how many lights we saw." -Merrill resident Jen Stoebner
Large lit candy cane and snowmen sculptures, street pole decorations, Christmas trees and inflatables are among the thousands of decorations that fill their yard.
Christmas Acres even has some handmade crafts, like a small ferris wheel and merry-go-round Rob Scheitler built that run off of motors.
Of all the decorations, Scheitler says he's most fond of a 16-foot-tall inflatable Santa that towers over the yard. He saw it and a 16-foot tall inflatable snowman at a home improvement store a few years ago and "just had to have them."
“The kids come down the road and they see that big Santa, they’re going ‘wow look at that!’ It’s neat to hear what the kids got to say,” Scheitler said.
Andy and Jen Stoebner recently moved to Merrill just south of Le Mars. They took their three-year-old son Asher to see the lights.
“When we drove down the hill we couldn’t believe how many lights we saw,” Jen Stoebner said. “He was watching from the backseat of the car and he was so excited.”
Both Andy and Jen said the giant Santa caught their attention.
Since 2012, Christmas Acres has taken in more than $35,000 in donations. All money raised goes to the Le Mars Christian Needs Center.
Christmas Acres will light up the Scheitlers' family farm through Dec. 31.