'There's a little bit of everything': Ponca Christmas Home continues to make the season bright
PONCA, Neb. -- It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially in Ponca.
Gene Watchorn is back at it for the 44th consecutive year of turning his home into a Winter Wonderland.
His home on 882nd Road has become a holiday spectacle throughout the state.
He said his family is the reason why he's back on the rooftop clicking away to put up the display.
"Been decorating out here since 1978 but then I got into Christmas, spoiling the grandkids, 20 years ago, now we're spoiling great-grandkids," Watchorn said.
Watchorn said the process to decorate his home begins during Labor Day weekend.
Each year he is able to complete decorating the outside by Halloween and then will work on the inside of his home during the chilly months.
"There's over 100,000 lights outside and 80 blowups, over 300 blow molds, and many other homemade items, reindeer, snowmen," Watchorn said.
Watchorn's house has been featured on television as well, even winning a national competition among homes throughout the country.
"In 2018, we won ABC's Great American Light Fight," he said. "We had to keep it a secret for a year that we actually won. They had 20 or 30 crew members out here for 30 days which was kind of hectic."
Watchorn used to decorate for other holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Easter but said no other holiday display has come close to the magnitude as his Christmas display.
Tours begin every year starting Thanksgiving night and he sees between 10,000 to 15,000 people a year.
"There's a little bit of everything for young, old. There's all kinds of decorations. It's hard to explain," Watchorn said. "There's a lot of stuff to see and a lot of people go through two or three times and they still see stuff they hadn't seen the first time."
The home will be open for tours until Jan. 1.
The Ponca Christmas Home is located at 58960 882 Road, Ponca, Neb.
There is an open house every day from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
If you can't make those times and would like to schedule a private tour, you can contact Gene at 402-755-2655.