Yampa residents light with kids in mind

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Ed Hayne and his wife, Kate, were going to stop putting up Christmas decorations three years ago because both of their children had graduated from high school.

But then they changed their minds.

"We had some calls from people in the neighborhood saying, 'We were wondering if you were going to put Santa up on the roof. It's getting a little late,'" Ed Hayne said.

So, the couple put their 4-foot, lighted Santa Claus back up on his rooftop perch on the couple's downtown Yampa home.

This year, the Haynes added strings of light to trim the house in white.

"It looks really sharp," Hayne said.

The judges of the town of Yampa's Christmas Lighting contest thought so, too. They awarded first place to the Haynes at Wednesday night's competition.

The Haynes have entered and won the competition before, but they were putting up lights long before the town even started the competition, Ed Hayne said.

It all started when a friend brought a lighted Santa Claus and choir children to the Haynes' home after his own daughter graduated from high school.

That was four plastic Santas ago. And, Hayne said, there are no plans to quit.

"I think it really adds to the festivities of Christmas," Hayne said. "Our kids always liked to go around and see the lights. ... I think we just do it because a lot of people can drive around and have things to look at."

Ken Cardenas said he and his wife also put up lights to give the children something fun to see.

Their home is near Yampa Elementary School, and Cardenas said he loves to watch kids walk by the house and look at the lights covering trees and the lit-up reindeer, Santa Claus, snowmen and more.

The Cardenas won the fourth-place prize in Wednesday's competition.

"We just keep adding a little bit more each year," Cardenas said.

He said he's working on building a wagon that will look like a sleigh when it's lit up. He expects to add it to his display next year.

He also has plans to put lights turned on and off by a timer on a pine tree in the front yard so the tree will look as if it's spinning.

He said he hopes more people are encouraged to decorate with lights during the holidays.

This year, the competition had seven entries, which is more than usual, Town Clerk Janet Ray said.

Houses winning first through fourth prizes were awarded between $25 and $100 credit on their electric bills. The prizes were donated by the Yampa Valley Electric Association.

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