One decade after vandalism, Dubuque lights tradition thriving - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

One decade after vandalism, Dubuque lights tradition thriving


DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- A Dubuque tradition involving nearly 30 years and 30,000 lights is up and glowing again.

When it comes to decking the halls - and the yard - the Neuses family has nearly 30 years of experience.

"People think, 'Are they nuts?' But, no, we just really enjoy doing it," homeowner Kathy Neuses said.

She and her husband Rich Neuses have been decorating their house on the corner of Kane Street and Primrose Court for nearly 30 years.

It's a tradition Rich Neuses said started with his grandfather, who used to cut down a giant Christmas tree every year and create a display with dolls from the Roshek Department Store.

Now, he said, he has passed the tradition of decorating for the public's enjoyment on to his children and grandchild.

"The whole family will come in. My son, daughters, things and like this here, and their son-in-laws and stuff. We kind of build the whole thing together, is what we do," Rich Neuses said. "It isn't something that happens overnight."

What did happen overnight 10 years ago, however, threatened to ruin this family affair.

Kathy Neuses said $10,000 in vandalism almost ended the tradition.

"They went through with, like, wire cutters and started cutting wires to all the lights," she said.

However, the community stepped up.

"There probably was about 15, 20 phone calls that day," She said. "'Do you need lights? Do you need help?'"

Now, one decade later, the display is thriving.

"Each year we spend roughly a thousand dollars, is what we do, in upgrading the display," Rich Neuses said.

"Christmas is so commercialized that, now, this is the fun part about it," Kathy Neuses said. "Not being out there in the hustle bustle, but actually doing something that makes people happy."

The Neuses' said roughly between 4,000 and 5,000 cars come to view their house every year.

The Dubuque trolley cars are now offering a Christmas light tour. People can call 563-582-1894 for more information on that.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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