With 30,000 lights and 32 blow-up characters, one family in West Deptford has the vision of a winter wonderland fully realized, and it’s right outside their door.
One of the 25 national finalists in Patch’s Deck the House contest, Len and Norma Covolesky have been residents of West Deptford for 35 years—though this year is the first they can win $100,000 for township schools.
Len Covolesky says the decorations started with two strings of lights and just grew over the years.
“You put up some one year,” says Len Covolesky, “and then you put up a little more.”
Len Covolesky attributes the grand Christmas display to his children and neighborhood children, who always wanted him to put up more decorations every year.
The entire outdoor decorating process—front yard and backyard—takes about a month. Len Covolesky starts right after Halloween and finishes right before Thanksgiving—a process he isn’t willing to give up anytime soon.
“I'll keep doing this as long as I can still climb the roof,” says the retired Camden police officer.
Len Covolesky says for years neighbors have been encouraging him and his wife to enter a contest, but he never felt that the decorations were for personal gain.
“This is a gift to the community and to the children,” says Len Covolesky.
However, he says with the money going to the school district, Deck the House was different. Len Covolesky says winning for West Deptford kids would mean a lot to the couple. The lights should help the kids, since that was who they were always meant for, Covolesky adds.
“I tell them, ‘I still believe in Santa Claus and I still believe in the miracle of Christmas,’” he says, when children ask him about the lights.
The nationwide winner of the Patch's Deck the House Contest will receive $500, as well as $100,000 for the school district. Patch users will votes nationwide for their favorite home. Voting is available once a day until Dec. 28 at noon.