Lights, Santa bring holiday cheer in Douglas County

Communities are finding inventive ways to celebrate the holidays from a distance during the pandemic.
People pause and look up at Brett and Amanda DeFoe’s house at 2101 E. 3rd Street in Superior Wednesday evening, Dec. 9. The house won the master display title in the Christmas Lighting Challenge last year. (Jed Carlson /

Superior residents are turning up the wattage to defend the city’s holiday title.

Last year, Superior snagged top honors in the annual Christmas Lighting Contest — both the title of "Favorite Christmas City" and the master’s award, which went to Brett and Amanda DeFoe of 2101 E. Third St.

Dozens of Douglas County homeowners and businesses have already signed up for the 2020 Christmas Lighting Challenge, including displays in Lake Nebagamon and Foxboro. But they face stiff competition from Duluth, Cloquet and Hermantown. More than 100 displays have been registered throughout the Twin Ports.

Visiting the holiday decorations offers families a safe, socially-distant way to enjoy holiday cheer. There are snowmen, Santas and twinkling trees waiting to be discovered. It can also earn bragging rights for the top participants.

A car stops to look at decorations on Susquehanna Avenue in Superior Wednesday, Dec. 9. The house is part of the Christmas Lighting Challenge. (Jed Carlson /

Community members have the power to put their city and neighbors on the path to victory this year. After driving around to enjoy the displays, everyone is invited to vote for their favorite business and residential entry in each city. Online voting takes place through Sunday, Dec. 20, with the winners announced the following day.

Registration for the event took place through Thursday night. A full listing of participants, as well as a map pinpointing the displays, is available on the Christmas Lighting Challenge website.

Santa in Solon Springs

Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, the Grinch and staff elves will greet parents and students during a drive-thru holiday event from 5-6 p.m. Dec. 15 at Solon Springs School.

Children are encouraged to bring their Santa letter to mail, and participants will enjoy live Christmas music during the drive-thru. Vehicles will enter at the east side of the parking lot, with members of the Lake Nebagamon Volunteer Fire Department directing traffic. Participants are asked to remain in their vehicle during the event.

The initiative started with the school's Parent Teacher Organization, supportive staff members, parents and community members, according to Principal Holly Jones.

"We're always looking for ways to brighten people's days," she said.

Virtual concert

The University of Wisconsin-Superior Music Department will present its annual Season of Song concert virtually at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15.


Titled "Hope and Home," the performance will feature holiday favorites and music that explores the theme of hopefulness. The concert involves small group recordings combined together to form a comprehensive musical performance.

Register online to receive a video link to the free performance. The 50-minute concert will also be available to view following the performance.

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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