Decking the halls and night skies of Nikiski with lit hot air tiggers, motorcycle riding Santa's, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, with Santa and his sleigh streaking through the night sky above a life-size doll Ferris wheel, are just a few of the thousands of lights sparkling at the Klimpke home this time of year. John Klimpke has become a holiday legend to North Roaders who are amazed year after year as John just keeps adding more lights. "We added another 10,000 or more this year, and last year we had 32,000. So all in all, it's around 42,000 lights up this year," Klimpke told the Dispatch. John says his personal favorite is the igloo. "It took me the longest to build. But the most expensive is the Ferris wheel. It's made out of pvc pipe, but constructed with steel. I told my wife I was going to put the grandkids in it and put a mattress under it, but she said 'I dare ya!' I bought two more lots next to me, so next year I'll have even more room for expansion," he said.
The Klimpke home is a virtual Holiday theme park, and John says he likes it that way. "I started out doing it for the grandkids, they really like it, but now it's for the whole community and we invite everyone to come by, turn their lights out and drive through, get out and walk around, take pictures if they like and bring the kids. Because Santa will be here the 20th -23rd, we put out a donation box, but that just goes to buy more lights for next year," said Klimpke. John says he spends about a month working with his four daughters to get the display all up, and then come January 1st he'll start storing it all away for next year. The Klimpke's have won awards from the Nikiski Community Council in the past and chances are good he'll be nominated by his neighbors again this year.
The Kenai and Greater Soldotna Chambers of Commerce also have Holiday Decorating Contests underway, and anyone interested in making a nomination can stop the Kenai Chamber log cabin or Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center for forms. In Soldotna, stop by the Soldotna Visitor or call January Yaeger, project coordinator at the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce. In other Holiday activities, the Alaska Statehood Quilt Project will be on exhibit at the KVCC through December 30th. On Saturday, December 12th and 19th Santa Claus will be visiting the Center from 1 - 4 p.m. for cider and baked goods. The bake sale will go to support the purchase of new uniforms for the Kenaitze Tribe Yaghanen Youth Program's NYO team. Also, during Santa's visit on the 19th, the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra will be providing Christmas music to help celebrate the season.
Through December 19th, the Center will host a Christmas Tree Auction Fundraiser, including trees decorated by 20 different community non-profit organizations. From 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. December 14th to the 18th, the Center will be open extended hours for the community to come and view the display and bid in the silent auction for the trees, which will be beautifully decorated in themes that reflect the participating organizations and their missions. Final bidding will take place during Santa's visit on Saturday the 19th, half of the proceeds for each tree will go to the organization decorating the tree, and half will go to the Patrons of the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center to support programs and exhibits.
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