As Thanksgiving passes, the ringing of Christmas bells and brilliant displays of lights begins. Oh, and if you happen to be in Wadena, the popular tune of “Baby Shark” can be heard loud and clear, in sync with an epic light display. GP Anderson responded to popular demand after the song received a million hits a day.
“The little honeys come by my house and go to the playground and they go, ‘Oh, hey is that your house? You Mr. Anderson?’” Anderson said, recalling the kids that pass by his display known as “Christmas in Wadena.” “So I said to this crew out there on recess, I said, ‘Hey, is “Baby Shark” popular, you guys?’ They go, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I said, ‘Do you guys know the words?’ They all knew the song. So I thought, ‘Well, OK.’”
To include the minute and 24 second “Baby Shark” song Anderson spent 138 hours programming the lights. The show often stays the same each year “because (of) the amount of time it takes to program, set up and do everything that’s involved,” Anderson said.
One of the biggest changes to the show is road transitions, including the portion of Dayton Ave. that became a parking lot as well as Colfax Ave. and the remaining portion of Dayton becoming a two-way street.
“We’re going to have lots of confusion per se because the one way street in front of Memorial Auditorium is now closed permanently and people would always turn there and come towards the display,” Anderson said. “So I’m in the process ... emailing back and forth … for updated signage.”
Anderson is in the process of adding signs on Hwys 10 and 29 and Second St. to aid with directions. On Second St. and Colfax Ave. three Christmas wreaths point the way. Another sign will be on the west portion of Hwy 29 by the Schuller Family Funeral Home. On Hwy 10 a trailer with arrows will replace the electrical signs that existed before the Hwy 10 construction project.
“Be prepared to change your regular route to approaching Christmas in Wadena,” Anderson said.
The remaining differences in the show include rope lights of “fa la la la la, la la la la” as well as a portion where the angels will sing this. People can also tune their radios to 88.1 FM for 24/7 Christmas music within 5 miles of Wadena beginning on Nov. 28, Thanksgiving.
IF YOU GO
"Christmas in Wadena" at 414 SW Third St. opens on Nov. 28, with shows from 5:30 - 9 p.m. The lights will dazzle Monday-Thursday from 5:30 - 9 p.m. and Friday-Sunday from 5:30 - 10 p.m. From Dec. 19-26 special holiday hours are 5:30 - 10:30 p.m. The last day is Jan. 1, 2020. The show is free, though, attendees can donate to Project Share of Wadena County through monetary and food donations.