Root River Antique Historical Power hosts annual Christmas light show
By Mary JergensonMonday, December 10, 2001
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose.
When Mel Torme penned those opening words of the Christmas Song, it was a different era. If we were to rewrite the song to fit the 21st century, it would probably go something like this:
Popcorn popping in the microwave, Latte warming up your nose.
Some things just shouldn’t be updated. Preserving the past and helping the “now” generation learn more about their heritage is what the Root River Antique Historical Power Association is all about. This non-profit organization’s goal is the preservation of mechanical and antique machinery, and this year they celebrate their 20th anniversary. Preserving the past, does not keep the group from improving the present and expanding the future.
Each year over the third weekend in July, the group holds an antique tractor show on their grounds behind Deer Creek Raceway between Racine and Spring Valley. This is their main event of the year and months of planning go into it. Not only do they have vintage tractors, but also a permanent little town, complete with country store, barbershop, saw mill and Town Hall, set up on the site, to demonstrate how all types of machines were used. They even have an old print shop which houses a printing press. A virtual dinosaur when compared to their great, great, great grand-descendants - the lap top computer.
It was at night after the show in 2000, that one of the members had an idea. Wouldn’t the village look great all lit up at night? It was just a statement really, but the idea caught on like a wild fire and expanded into the group having a Christmas light display. By September last year a committee had been organized and Lila and Myron Kalstabakken were the new co-chairs.
The Kalstabakkens admit they did not know what they were doing, or even where to start. They did know that they wanted old fashioned decorations, and lights. None of the new twinkly lights or icicles would be appropriate. So with the help of a committee of ten members, they began their search for the what would turn out to be thousands of lights.
Remember last winter, it snowed in early November and kept right on snowing till March. The cold temperatures, and the late start made the first year of the light display an interesting undertaking. Stringing hundred .....[Read the Rest]