Event combines food drive, light show
By Angie Landsverk
Weyauwega police officers will turn a house into a Christmas light show when they host a food drive this month for the community’s food pantry.
The first ever Handcuff Hunger will take place from 3-10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, at 600 S. Pine St., in Weyauwega.
Santa will be at the event from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
There will be a backdrop in the garage for him, with cookies, hot chocolate and candy for the children.
Those who attend Handcuff Hunger are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to help the Weyauwega Police Department fill its squad cars.
The food donations will be delivered to Weymont Food Pantry.
“Dec. 16 will be the first night. Then we’ll run it (the light show) every night through New Year’s, from 5-10 p.m.,” said Weyauwega Police Officer Justin Malueg.
He is being joined in putting together the event by officers Lydia Buntrock and Heather Dahm.
Buntrock is a full-time officer and is hosting the event at her house.
Dahm, a part-time officer, is helping set up the light show and also baking cookies for the event.
The Christmas light show will feature more than 25,000 lights, synchronized to music and broadcast via radio station 107.7.
“Right now, we have a total of about 28,000 lights,” Malueg said. “It probably will be closer to 30,000 lights.”
He and Buntrock have been buying the lights for the event.
They received donations of extension cords and blow up figures for the yard. A nativity scene is being added by community members as well.
Malueg explained how they came up with the idea.
A friend in Malueg’s hometown of Marion started doing a light show a couple years ago.
The friend had two machines that allowed him to plug 16 different things into each machine.
Malueg’s friend gave him one machine to start out with, and now Malueg has two machines.
Putting together a light show for the community came up about two months ago, during a police department staff meeting.
“It started out to just have a light show,” said Buntrock.
Then Sgt. Brandon Leschke brought up the idea of also doing something for the food pantry.
Dahm came up with the idea of calling their event “Handcuff Hunger.”
MaluMalueg said Buntrock’s home is a nice spot for it, because it has a large yard and is on one of Weyauwega’s main streets.
They started decorating the house and yard in October and continue to add finishing touches in preparation for the Dec. 16 event.
He estimates they have close to 100 hours of time put into it.
Their goal is to fill up their squad cars that night.
At times, the light show will be a fast moving one, and they do not want to give away all the songs they chose for it.
One of them chosen was the theme song for the “Cops” TV show.
They created a Christmas version of it with a message from Police Chief Gerald Poltrock.
“In between the songs, we will have greetings from each of us,” Malueg said.
The officers hope to make this an annual event and are thinking about collaborating with local businesses next year and holding it on Main Street.