After 35 Years, Dakota City Christmas Lights Go Dark

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DAKOTA CITY, Iowa — For 35 years, Merlin Fort lit up his neighborhood every Christmas with thousands of Christmas lights. People came from counties around the area, and even bus tours would stop from time to time. But after a couple of years of thinking about it, Fort has decided it’s time to stop.

“I’m getting old, just like all the lights. Some of the lights are 30 years old and just getting too rotten, so I had to quit sometime. I thought this would be a good time to quit,” Fort said.

That meant some of Fort’s work had to been thrown out.

“I filled five barrels of lights. I’ll take them off the windmill and everything else and just throw them away,” said Fort. “I sure as heck want to thank everyone. They came here for over three generations and I’ll miss the children more than anything else.”

Fort has some of his decorations still for sale. He says people can give him a call if they want to see what he has.

“People that bought a lot of my big stuff are from Livermore, Iowa,” said Fort. “They’re starting to get in the mood now to put up a big display up there.”

Fort said he just wanted to get the word out that he was closed, as he often had visitors just show up.

“I sure enjoyed all them years and it went by so doggone quick, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m just lucky to be alive to talk about it,” said Fort.

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