What's in Elk Grove man's winning 2019 Holiday Lights Contest display
An Elk Grove Village home with candy cane-striped archways, thousands of lights, hundreds of plastic decorations and a new surprise this year is the winner of the Daily Herald's annual holiday lights contest.
It's the second win for Richy Sandberg, who receive the most votes from readers. Sandberg is the first repeat winner in the contest's eight-year history.
Look closely at his elaborate yard display and you might spy a familiar face among the Disney characters, vintage decor and cheer-filled messages.
"We added just a subtle thing. I put Kevin McAllister in the window," Sandberg said of actor Macaulay Culkin's character from the classic "Home Alone."
"Sure enough, I've heard people comment as they catch on to it," Sandberg said. Anyone driving by can hear "Somewhere in my Memory" from the movie by tuning the car radio to 106.1-FM.
Sandberg, who works as the head of circulation services at the Elk Grove Village Public Library, said he and his wife started creating lavish holiday displays when they moved to their house at 391 Walnut Lane in 2017 -- and that year they won the Editor's Choice award for the Northwest suburbs in the Daily Herald contest.
The idea to go all out with the lights began in Sandberg's childhood, when his parents would drive him to view decorations around their neighborhood.
Friends and family, including Richy's wife, Jessica, his brother, James Sandberg, and several friends, including Rob Fiorito, Mike Logli and Mike Almaguer, helped assemble decorations.
The grand prize winner was determined by online voting. Sandberg received 10,829 votes of 30,401 cast. For his efforts, Sandberg will receive skybox tickets to a Chicago Wolves game as well as a $100 gift certificate to Gillerson's restaurant.
Four Editor's Choice winners -- for DuPage County, the Fox Valley, Lake County and the Northwest suburbs -- each will receive a $25 dining gift card.
All voters were entered into a random drawing for six Classic Cinema movie passes.