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Lighting up the Christmas spirit
Twelve houses enter festive decorating contest in Fort Simpson

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, December 22, 2011

With approximately 25 strands of lights that blink in time to a variety of Christmas carols, the Snider family's house looks like a Christmas wonderland.

NNSL photo/graphic

Jessie Snider, left, Meadow Okrainec and Merle Snider stand outside of their home in Wild Rose, which won first place in the Christmas outdoor-light decorating contest in Fort Simpson. - Roxanna Thompson/NNSL photo

It took Merle Snider, her brother Floyd Snider, her daughter Meadow Okrainec and her friend Lance Ellis two weeks to decorate her parents' home in the Wild Rose subdivision of Fort Simpson. The finished product won first place and $300 in the Christmas outdoor light decorating contest in the village.

The Beavertail Jamboree Committee and the Community Cultural Committee organized the contest. Decorating contests used to be part of the Christmas season in Fort Simpson, but haven't been for awhile, said Stella Nadia, a member of the Community Cultural Committee.

"We decided to revive it this year," she said.

The winner emerged

A total of 12 homes registered for the free contest. On the evening of Dec. 18, Nadia, along with Cheryl Sibbeston and Carl Carpentier drove to all the participating houses and independently scored them based on the number of lights, detail and the amount of work it took to create. Once the three score sheets were added together, the winner emerged.

Following the Sniders, Josie and Enos Tonka won $200 and second place and Doris and Peter Erasmus took $100 and third. Fort Simpson Beverages won the decorated business category and the $100 prize that was donated by Deh Cho Hardware.

Nadia said she was very impressed by all of the contestants and also by some decorated houses that didn't enter.

"They were really pretty," she said.

The two committees hope to make the contest an annual event.

For the Sniders, decorating their house with lights is part of a Christmas tradition. The family had already started decorating for themselves and just added more after they found out about the contest. In total, there are approximately 45 strands of lights around the house.

Merle said she was very excited to win the contest.

"It was nice to get in the community spirit," she said.

Also in Wild Rose Josie Tonka said it felt great to come in second place. Josie and her husband Enos took about a week to create their light display. Josie couldn't even guess at the number of strands of lights they'd used.

"There's lots of extension cords," she said.

In addition to the lights outlining their house the Tonkas put a nativity scene on a treehouse platform in their front yard and decorated a large tree beside their laneway.

Doris Erasmus was surprised to find out her family's house had come in third place. Doris' husband Peter and son Derek outlined the house in green and red lights and decorated a tree on the front lawn and the fence to celebrate the homecoming of family member Amber Erasmus who's been away for six months participating in an exchange with Canada World Youth.

Doris said she's enjoyed the other decorated homes in the community.

"There was some really nicely done houses," she said.

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