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Austintown fifth-grader can’t get enough Christmas

December 8, 2011
By J.T. Whitehouse
The day after Thanksgiving, Justin Johns, son of Eric Johns and Jennifer Cobal of Austintown, went to work. His mission: to fill his grandparents' front yard with Christmas displays.

Justin has already put up more than 34 individual displays from lighted sleighs to a wide variety of unusual inflatables.

“He has been doing it since he was a little boy,” said his father.

Justin simply loves Christmas time and enjoys helping out his grandparents. Every Tuesday he spends the night at his grandparents’ (Kathy and Rich Johns) house and puts in a lot of time on the displays. He also devotes four hours every Thursday and each weekend up to Christmas.

When Justin was younger, he helped put up the displays and now at age 11, he has totally taken over the task by himself.

“My dad and grandparents buy new displays and I put them up,” he said proudly.

He is working off several different electrical panels and uses a large number of outdoor extension cords. He has to visit several locations throughout the house and garage to turn on the entire collection. As soon as he hits the switch, the sound of electrical pumps fills the air as Santas and snowmen seem to rise out of the ground.

He has a Santa in an airplane that has a spinning propeller, a Santa inside a helicopter, and a Santa that opens a door and peeks out of an air-filled outhouse.

He also helps his grandparents inside the home by decorating tables and putting up miniature displays.

While the yard and the house seems full to the brim of Christmas paraphernalia, Justin said his job is not yet done for 2011. He said there will be more displays added as the family finds another piece that he does not have. That will mean more drain on the electric panel, but that potential problem will be solved by the end of this week.

“We are going to install an electric panel just for Justin’s lights in case he wants to keep going,” grandfather Rich said.

When asked which one is his favorite, Justin replied, “I don’t have a favorite, I like them all.”

Justin, a fifth-grader at Frank Ohl, is also breaking in his younger brother, seven-year-old Tyler. While Tyler may not yet have the patience to work on a display, he does lend a hand moving them in place.

Rich said placing and designing his front yard has been a good thing for the boys.

“We get a lot of fun out of this,” Rich said. “When the boys are doing this display, they are keeping busy and not doing bad things.”

With a few weeks left before Christmas, Justin is certain to make a few additions to his creation. Whatever he adds this year will be placed in storage until next Christmas, when the display will again go up and Justin will add more joy for his family.

Article Photos

Justin Johns, 11, holds some of his older Christmas inflatables while they fill with air. The Santa and dog inflatable is one of over 34 displays he has put up at his grandparents' home in Austintown.



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