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Number one

-Messenger file photo by Chad Thompson
Decker Truck Line’s display at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park earned first place in the Lights at Kennedy contest. More than 3,000 ballots were cast.

Decker Truck Line Inc. took home first place in the Lights at Kennedy display contest last year.

The display featured snowmen and a Christmas tree, each made of tires, on a flatbed trailer.

“Decker certainly put a lot of effort and went bigger than they had ever gone before,” said Andy Reed, an organizer of the annual display at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park. “It’s my understanding they put a team effort together to make sure they put out a great display again this year.”

More than 3,000 ballots were cast for the contest, Reed reported.

Fareway earned second place in the contest. Dragon Boats placed third.

First place received $500, second place $300 and third place $200.

“This is Fareway’s second year of participating and second year of placing,” Reed said. “More of the creativity with Fareway is where they get the votes. They added a very realistic singing Santa Claus that sang in both Spanish and English this year.”

Reed complimented the Dragon Boats display for consistently being a favorite.

“Dragon Boats is probably the winningest display that’s out there,” Reed said. “They always end up doing a great job of supporting and putting up a great display.”

Lights at Kennedy has been a Fort Dodge tradition for 20-plus years. The effort is organized by the Fort Dodge Noon Sertoma Club, with help from the Fort Dodge Young Professionals and Iowa Central Community College.

A total of 4,206 cars drove through the park to see the sparkling lights in 2020.

The single-night attendance record was broken on the first night the display was open to the public. The record was broken four more times after that, Reed said.

The new record is 740 cars on a single night.

All those visitors resulted in just over $29,000 in donations, which is also a record.

Some of that money will go to Backpack Buddies, which ensures that qualifying children have nutritious food to eat on the weekends. Money generated by the event will also be invested in Veterans Memorial Park near Badger Lake. Some money will be reinvested in the light displays A portion will go to the Fort Dodge Young Professionals to help provide low cost events intended to help gain and retain young professionals in the area.

Reed said there has already been discussion on how to make next year’s display more attractive.

“After this year there’s a ton of enthusiasm for it,” Reed said. “We have a really strong group leading this and we have already begun some of the work for next year and some things we may add as far as displays to make it bigger and better.

“We feel very blessed that we have had the support we have had in the community and all the business who participated and people who came out. In a difficult year it was a pretty awesome event.”

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