Fort lights up the night for final time

Fort’s Hillside Spectacular holiday light display is filling the skies of Dakota City and Humboldt for the 34th year, drawing visitors from surrounding counties and beyond. Merlin Fort says this will be his final year of providing the large display. Independent photo by Phil Monson. See more photos from this and other community scenes and events by clicking on the Buy A Photo link at the top of this page.

By Phil Monson
Merlin Fort stood on the deck of his house and looked over the wide expanse of his back yard, known for over 30 years as Fort’s Hillside Spectacular.
It was mid-October and the afternoon sky was gray, but all of his lights and decorations were in place, waiting for the holiday season to arrive when his lights would fill the evening sky of Dakota City and Humboldt from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day evening.
“I think this will definitely be my last year. I’m going to be 90 years old on March 2. I’m not able to get around like I used to. I even have less energy this year than I did last year,” Fort said.
“This year will be my 34th year. It will probably be my last one for sure,” Fort said. “I’m going to leave everything up until spring and then I’ll have an auction. People can buy anything they want.”
A Go Fund Me page for the Hillside Spectacular has been reactivated. To make a donation, leave a comment or share with others, go to
Read more about Merlin and his yearly gift to the community in this week's Humboldt Independent. Subscribe by clicking on the link at the top of the page.

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