Kovarik goes to great lengths to light up Monona home each Christmas

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The Kovarik home at 404 W. Franklin St. is a popular destination for Christmas light viewing in Monona. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

The property has been decorated each year since 1995.

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


Many Monona properties are decked out in lights each holiday season, but perhaps none shine as brightly—or cover as great a distance—as the Kovarik home at 404 W. Franklin St.


The house itself features blue icicle lights and multi-colored hues around the windows. Strands hang from trees and wrap around their trunks, while candy canes, candles, snowmen, deer and a nativity scene grace the front yard. 


A wooden fence extends west of the house, covered in brilliant blue strings of lights and a line of lighted classic Christmas iconography such as trees and stars. Another section of fence frames the driveway in red on one side, while bushes in bright white are on the other. At the end of the drive, one can see lights on a garage and other decorated trees and bushes.


“Sometimes people pull into the driveway to see it all,” said Dennis Kovarik.


He’s been decorating the home since 1995, with inspiration stemming from his childhood.


“I used to do it at my mom and dad’s house from when I was a kid,” Kovarik recalled. “My uncle also had lights on everything.”


“We started putting more and more up,” one time earning the town’s “Griswold Award” in a Lion’s Club contest, he said.


Kovarik begins decorating around Thanksgiving. The display takes roughly 25 hours to complete. 


“But it’s only about 12 hours to take down,” he quipped.


Kovarik has no idea how many strands of lights or pieces of decor are put out each year, just that “it’s quite a lot of work.”


“There are so many different places I can put lights,” he said.


His favorite lights are the blue ones. He’s also partial to the video shining in the front window that shows Santa waving back at viewers.


“Some kids have thought he lived here,” Kovarik shared.


The Kovarik lights are on each night from 5 to 8 p.m., and he expects them to remain up into January. People are welcome to drive by and check them out. Kovarik is happy it’s become an annual tradition for many—just as erecting the display has become a tradition for him. 


“I’ll do it as long as I can. A lot of people come by every Christmas and look at them,” he said.

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