For 25 years McDonna’s Farm has been a place for Christmas cheer in La Plata County, with an impressive light display that grows bigger every year.
“It’s fun to do. It’s personally gratifying and people who come out and see it go, ‘Wow,’” said Rex Emenegger, owner of McDonna’s Farm.
Emenegger has thousands of lights, many inflatable snowmen, Santa Clauses, light-up reindeer, toy soldiers, and much more. He said one of his favorite decorations is the shivering snowman holding a sign that says “Brrrr,” out in front of the property.
When Emenegger and his wife, Donna, moved to Durango about 25 years ago, he began with a small light display. But it has grown into a winter wonderland.
“Over the years I’ve accumulated more and more decorations, and we just make it bigger and bigger each year,” Emenegger said. “After each Christmas season when things go on sale, I buy bargain lights.”
Emenegger said he tries to do something new every year. This year he added an inflatable Clydesdale horse pulling a wagon.
“My wife drives buggies and wagons as a hobby with her horse, and so we found this Clydesdale blow-up,” Emenegger said. “We’ve got it set up so the Clydesdale is pulling a little wagon that Snoopy is driving.”
Emenegger said he’s been able to transition all his lights over to LED lights, which keeps the electricity bill down.
“My power bill was spinning,” he said. “This year I put solar in, so it’s zero now.”
In previous years, Emenegger said he’s had electric bills that were more than $300 for the month of December.
It takes Emenegger about a week to set up all the lights and inflatables, and he generally starts right after Thanksgiving.
“This year has been easier, because there’s no snow,” he said. “The snow helps the presentation because it reflects a little bit of the moonlight and the evening glow.”
The Emeneggers had help putting up the lights this year from their friend Kathleen Threadgill, who they call their elf.
“I think it brings a lot of joy,” Threadgill said. “It’s great to see that people still have the Christmas spirit, and that they want to do something for others. This isn’t just about us; to me it’s about others.”
Emenegger lives at 280 Sundance Circle in the El Rancho Florida subdivision east of Durango, and said he’s constantly asked why he would put up such an impressive display out in the county where so few people see it.
“I just like to do it, and it adds some Christmas spirit,” he said.
Light displays being his holiday passion, Emenegger likes to drive around throughout the month and see some of the other homes. His favorite house to visit is on Scout Ridge Road.
“It’s a big city lot with a big winding driveway going up to the house and it’s beautiful, just beautiful,” he said.
Throughout the season, he said McDonna’s Farm gets a lot of visitors to see the light display.
“It’s primarily word of mouth, but lots of people come. People are excited to see it,” he said.
Emenegger said what he enjoys most about putting up his light display is spreading Christmas spirit.
“It’s just to spread the Christmas spirit, and to remember that everyone needs to slow down and appreciate the season,” he said. “We like to make people feel good, and a visual picture is really nice.”