BLAST FROM THE PAST: Light display brings joy, delight

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Photo by JEAN VOSBERG Bill Hillebrand explains to students in Mr. White’s fourth-grade class at Sunnyside Elementary the process of making lighted creations from iron. The students visited Hillebrand’s home and got a preview of the Christmas decorations visited by many from the Silver Valley.

EDITOR’S NOTE: BLAST FROM THE PAST is a weekly article where we turn back the clock and see what was on the front page of our local newspapers years ago.

This unchanged article in particular ran exactly 20 years ago on the front page of the Dec. 1, 1998, edition of the Shoshone News-Press. If you remember this story, or other BLAST FROM THE PAST articles, let us know by writing us or commenting online!

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By ANNETTE GRIFFUS

Former Staff Writer

KINGSTON — For most people, hobbies are a personal pleasure.

Bill Hillebrand’s hobby has given other people delight for many years.

Large, lighted, metal creations decorate Hillebrand’s yard on Isabella Lane in Kingston. Everything from Dinosaurs to Goofy, Mickey and Minnie Mouse has been welded into huge decorations for passers-by to admire and enjoy.

“If people didn’t come by, I wouldn’t do it,” said Hillebrand.

Hillebrand has made so many cartoon and animal creations that they have expanded into neighbors’ yards so they can be displayed.

Recently, Hillebrand had a visit from art appreciation students in Scott White’s fourth-grade class at Sunnyside Elementary School.

When the children visited him and he saw how much pleasure it gave them to look at the lights, it gave him pleasure as well, Hillebrand said.

The students visited Hillebrand’s workshop and saw firsthand how Hillebrand makes the metal creations from quarter-inch metal, rods, paint and “lots and lots of tiny lights,” said Jean Vosberg. Vosberg teaches art part-time at the elementary.

“He showed the students how he takes a small picture and transposes it onto a chalk-lined, four-inch grid. Bill (Hillebrand) then showed them the tools he uses to heat and bend the materials into wonderful works of art,” Vosberg said.

The students walked along Isabella Lane and looked at all of the creations, including a nativity scene, she said.

“There were lots of ooohs and aaahs when Mr. Hillebrand thrilled the students by giving them a sneak peak preview of what it will look like when he turns on the lights,” Vosberg said.

The displays can be viewed at night through Jan. 1, 1999.

Hillebrand said that he gets most of his ideas from the creations from coloring books.

New to the display this year are dinosaurs, wolves howling at the moon, St. George and the dragon.

Hillebrand said it takes all his neighbors to help him put up a 20-foot-long blimp which decorates the yard.

Hillebrand is now working on horses for a carousel he hopes to finish in time for next Christmas.

Hillebrand began making the Christmas decoration about 10 or 11 years ago after he retired from Kellogg Transfer.

He begins working on new decorations from January to March and then starts putting them up in the fall.

This year, he started putting up the lights in October and didn’t finish until last week. Hillebrand said it’s an all-day job for him to keep up with replacing lights and light strings.

“It’s time consuming, but I enjoy it,” he added.

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