Lighting up the season
Just like Santa, local luminaries didn’t let snowy weather stop them.
Entrants in the annual Douglas County Residential Holiday Decorating and Lighting Contest dug in to dig out their displays, which were blanketed with about 16 inches of snow in last week’s storm.
The winners were announced Thursday by the Superior-Douglas County Chamber Ambassadors. Some of the names were very familiar, like Jeff Eliason, Dee Fetters, and Brian and Kristie Christianson.
“They always do such an excellent job with their displays, and have won in various categories many times prior to this year,” said Mary Kehoe, co-chairwoman of the holiday lighting committee. “They do so well with their decorating because they have a good plan and put a lot of hours into their project. The huge storm last week caused additional problems for these larger displays — digging them out, reworking portions — I’m sure it created a lot more work for them.” But the result, she said, was a great showing of Christmas spirit.
Dee and Tom Fetters at 2729 E. Third St. won the Master’s Division award. Lights and displays fill the entire yard and Mrs. Claus has been seen handing out candy canes most nights at 7 p.m.
“Dee seems to change things up each year, adding new displays that are really darling,” Kehoe said. “My favorite was Santa popping his head out of the outhouse door, an elf standing bashfully outside with his hand over his mouth.”
The Ambassador’s Choice award went to Eliason at 2319 Susquehanna Ave. The display was voted the favorite by all the judges.
“Jeff is very dedicated to his decorating,” Kehoe said. “Several years back, he fell off his roof while putting lights up, was seriously injured and unable to complete his lighting for the contest. He actually donated the amount he would have spent on his electric bill, had his lights been up for the holidays, to our charitable partner for that contest. Jeff totally has the Christmas spirit.”
The Country Choice Award again went to the Christiansons at 8494 E. U.S. Highway 2.
“They are very difficult to beat,” Kehoe said. “When you pull into their driveway, you are surrounded with beautiful lights and displays. It’s great that they decorate so beautifully for all the traffic on the highway to enjoy their lights.”
Best Use of Lights went to David and Jody Anderson at 7606 Hughitt Ave. They were selected for the large number of lights used and the beautiful effects created.
The Spirit Award is typically given to a smaller display that shows a lot of Christmas or holiday spirit. Rawlie, Stacy and Allison Hart at 2830 E. Third St. won the category with a display that evoked the spirit of Christmas in all of the judges.
This year, 28 homes entered the contest, up from 24 last year. The Chamber will donate $5 per entry, $140 total, to A Night Without a Home.
To Kehoe, all the entrants were winners.
“I urge the community to take a drive and view all these beautiful displays. It will really put you in the Christmas spirit,” she said.