After becoming a Christmas Season mainstay of Fort Assiniboine for 18 years, 2022 will be the last year for the Christmas light display at the Post Office.
Bob Weller and Sharon Ainsley started building their light display in 2004 with a half dozen strings of lights set up on the front of the building. From this humble beginning, their annual exhibition of the Christmas spirit has grown to over 60,000 lights (they actually have 64,000 but have run out of room to put all of them up). Bob and Sharon’s current collection includes 40 light trees, including two 20 ft tall trees with 4500 lights each. Relatively new additions include 105 sets of dripping icicle lights, which Bob really enjoys because they “add some action to the yard.” They had used some inflatable decorations in past years but sold them in 2018 as they were difficult to manage, often collapsing with a decent snowfall.
Bob and Sharon have decided that this will be their final season putting up their incredible light display. Bob will be 82 in February and reports that he is understandably “getting a little shaky” to be climbing the 12 ft ladder they use to put up many of the decorations. Sharon does most of the higher installations these days, but she is only a few years younger than Bob. They receive help from friends such as Bill Degroot, who built the big light trees and assists in putting up the light display every year, and Jemy Prociuk, who also helps with this annual effort.
“It’s a labour of love more than anything else,” says Bob. He hopes that someone in town will take over for next year and keep the tradition going.
The lights will come on every night at dusk and stay lit for six hours until January 4, 2023. The entrance to the backyard is on the west side of the building where viewers can take a leisurely stroll through the maze of lights.
Santa Clause will be visiting on December 10 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM and will be joined by three groups of carolers. Those who choose to make the trip and fair the cool temperatures are invited to join in and share in the spirit of Christmas. Bob has a special area set up for Santa with four 10 ft light trees, each sporting 1200 white lights, to provide the perfect lighting for pictures.
If you haven’t seen this light display before, or if you would like to see it again before it’s gone, make time to head down to Fort Assiniboine before the season ends on January 4. You’ll be glad you did.
By Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Dec 07, 2022