Twenty-five years of developing an eclectic, child-pleasing collection of Christmas decorations paid off for Jim and Jo Stanko last year.
The couple's ranch on Routt County Road 33 won the 2003 Holiday Tour of Lights sponsored by the Steamboat Pilot & Today and Yampa Valley Electric Association. For those interested in proving that their light display is the fairest and brightest of them all -- and interested in winning a $175 electricity bill credit from YVEA -- the deadline for entering this year's Holiday Tour of Lights is Monday.
It takes nine circuits throughout the Stankos' ranch to power a light display includes 25 candy canes, a herd of reindeer, Santa Claus and his sleigh, a train full of holiday gifts, and a real tractor draped in lights -- along with the standard strings along the house and through trees and any other surface that can be wrapped in bulbs.
Jo Stanko readily admits the display is not what one might call sophisticated, but the array of colors and shapes thrill children, and as a longtime teacher, that's where her priorities are. The couple calls their display a gift to their neighbors and a way to spread Christmas cheer.
But lighted figurines are by no means required to win the contest. As last year's entries proved, icicle lights, rope lights, colored garlands and classic bulbs in colors including traditional green, red and white, and also peach, gold, magenta and purple all have a place in modern holiday decor.
For this year's contest, people can enter either their own home or the stand-out home of a friend or neighbor, with that person's approval. Entries are free and open to homes in Steamboat Springs or the immediate vicinity.
Fill out an entry form at the Steamboat Pilot & Today office or fax a form, which can be found in Friday, Sunday or Monday's newspaper, to 879-2888.
Entries will be judged after dark on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, and results will be announced in the Dec. 19 Pilot & Today. Addresses are included along with winners' names so that community members can drive through town on their own tour of lights to see some of the brightest homes Steamboat has to offer.
The first-place winner will receive a $175 credit from YVEA, second place will get a $100 credit, third will get a $75 credit, and honorable mention will get a $50 credit. All winners also will receive a one-year subscription to the Pilot & Today.