In the Town of Paonia's annual judging of Christmas lights displays, a cute little sports car caught the eyes of judges Katya Schwieterman and Liane Mattson. Schwieterman and Mattson are daughter and mother and have been judging the lights for the town for 10 years. The first year they judged the contest, Katya was 4.
Winners receive $50, second place receives $25, and third place is awarded $10. Mattson said they try to mix it up every year to avoid having repeat winners, which is usually the way it ends up anyway due to new and different displays to choose from every year. This year, however, there weren't as many displays as in the past to judge.
Located at 130 Orchard Avenue, this year's winning display included a red 1964 model Triumph TR4 with bright holiday packages on the roof and a snowman in the driver's seat. The house is outlined in red, green and blue lights, and a nativity scene faces Second Street, but it was the car that grabbed the attention of the judges. They are always looking for new ideas, like the Grinch stealing the last strand of lights from the house that won an earlier contest and was up again this year.
The runner up, at 319 Poplar, is an example of less is more. Bushes are covered in red, white and blue lights, and a single strand of multi-colored lights runs along the roofline. The third place winner at 422 Main includes a big yard filled with decorations located between two brightly-lit homes.
Honorable mention went to the display at 229 Poplar. The display at 100 Rio Grande, with a cute back porch and a small grove of colorfully-lit trees, was selected as this year's Kid's Choice winner by Katya.
There were several very good displays in town, and one on Price Road that judges make a point of driving by every year. It's never won an award since it sits just outside of town limits.