Christmas light throw-down
Dueling lightshows, more holiday fun
By James Card
The Weyauwega-Fremont area is on a holiday roll that would make Santa Claus proud.
The Frolic in Fremont event on Saturday, Nov. 26, had people standing shoulder-to-shoulder on Wolf River Drive for the Light-Up Fremont parade.
Afterwards, the community Christmas tree was lit up and the River Deck was packed with the Spicy Tie band playing the tunes.
One week later is Weyauwega’s turn.
The Weyauwega Winter Wonderland Parade is set for at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. The downtown will be lit up and children can visit Santa at the Gerold Opera House.
The Weyauwega Area Historical Society is launching a new tour this year: six families who live in historically significant houses will open their homes for Christmas tours. The tour will be from noon to 4 p.m. and it costs $10.
Dueling light shows
Another Christmas event is brewing in the form a friendly rivalry: cops versus firefighters. Two men are squared off to present the community with dueling light shows in Weyauwega on Saturday, Dec. 17. The showdown starts at 4 p.m. and will go until 7 p.m.
On East Ann Street the police contingent is led by Justin Malueg, a Waupaca County sheriff’s deputy.
On East Parker Street, the firefighter group is led by Nate Stelzner, a former volunteer firefighter who comes from a family of firefighters.
No address is needed. The light shows will be visible from a distance and they will take up much of the street. Fire trucks and squad cars will line the road adding more lights to the mix.
Between the two of them, they have put up an estimated 110,000 lights and other assorted Christmas decorations. Everything is rigged up through a computer network and the lights will be synchronized to pulse to music.
Spectators can tune in via their car radio at 107.7 for the police light show and on 88.7 for the firefighter light show.
Multiple neighbors with houses and out buildings and garages will be decked out with lighting.
“We literally make our own radio show,” said Malueg. “It’s pre-recorded. We’ve got holiday greetings, advertisements from local businesses. It’s like a legit radio station. It just only goes out the vehicles.”
The winner will be determined by the amount of donations received. People can vote by dropping off their donations to both or just one.
The firefighter food drive campaign is called “Extinguish Hunger,” and the police campaign is called “Handcuff Hunger.”
There will be a drop box at each location for monetary donations and they will take nonperishable foods. These food items will be divvied up among the communities that participate: there will be fire trucks and squad cars from other area departments and the donations will go toward their respective community food pantries.
Malueg and Stelzner are still negotiating the terms for the losing side. So far their ideas involve the loser washing the other department’s vehicles or perhaps the losing team cooking a huge meal for the winners.
Both men have volunteered in the community over the years setting up light shows. The dueling light show is their creation. The more they volunteered setting up Christmas lights, the more their obsession grew.
Stelzner started putting up lights on Oct. 25. Malueg started on Nov. 1. Both have been working nonstop since.
“You want to know where I got it from? I met a guy two years ago. His name is Justin Malueg,” said Stelzner. “And now I’m hooked.”
Currently the police have more lights put up, however; Stelzner hinted that they have fire trucks that have extension ladders and those could be extended skyward for something spectacular.