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We Are Iowa

Meet the hard-working Iowans behind Oskaloosa's 'Painting With Lights'

Nearly 300,000 lights adorn buildings and other facades around City Square Park.

OSKALOOSA, Iowa — In the small town of Oskaloosa, Christmas is the main attraction.

The town boasts several hundred thousand lights for its annual "Painting With Lights" display.

Stringing that many lights demands a lot of time and hard work, but Dan Brice and his crew at DB Landscaping start decorating Oskaloosa before Halloween.

They go building by building to make sure every corner of town is perfectly lit.

"Every year we're trying to add more stuff to make it more interesting for people who've seen it before, and want to come back and see something new," Brice said.

Brice and his team use custom-built spools to hold the lights.

"It's basically one strand of lights that runs up and down, and across six inches and back up. So it's one giant strand of lights," he added.

For 2023, "Painting With Lights" is getting even brighter.

Oskaloosa's town square is now home to Jeremiah Maudlin's one-of-a-kind display, featuring 30 songs synced to lights and special effects.

“It just fascinated me. And it was like, 'I want to do that someday.' And essentially, I had the time to do it, I had the extra funds to do it, and I just started building it," Maudlin said.

Maudlin started his lights a few years ago at his home in Barnes City. He's added to it each year, but is bringing it front and center for the first time this season.

"I just hope that I spark an interest. Like by doing this, someone sees this, and it lights a fire."

His lights are now a part of "Painting With Lights" thanks to support from Vickie Collette and Oskaloosa's Golden Goose Club.

Collette said, "it just kind of struck me. That would be an incredible thing to have in Oskaloosa."

Lights like these could give any big city showstopper a run for its money, but you won't find anything quite like them outside of Mahaska County.

"It's my hometown," Brice said. "This is where I'm from. I kind of love giving back to the town and I'm glad they decided to go with this."

Meet the hard-working Iowans behind Oskaloosa's 'Painting With Lights'
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