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Decorating contest needs more entries

Town will brainstorm ways to bring more residents on board next year

ATHABASCA – It wasn’t exactly a competitive contest, but the winners of the 2022 Town of Athabasca Christmas Decorating Contest were no less deserving and were still recognized for bringing light into the community. 

Town council agreed at their Dec. 20 regular meeting to award the residential prize this year to the winners of the last two year’s contests giving Claire and Brett Phillips on 52nd Street, not only the $100 gift card, but three-peat bragging rights as well. 

This year, the Phillips’ lived up to their reputation, putting up several new features, made mostly of upcycled materials, as part of the usually bright display, even offering a place to have a photo with Santa. 

“Additional light this year is an old metal tent frame that I converted to a “photo booth”, set up two red chairs, and Santa,” said the Phillips’ entry. 

On the business side of the contest, Pleasant Valley Lodge was awarded the gift card for all the work residents and staff did spreading the Christmas spirit with numerous displays inside and outside the facility. That announcement was actually made Dec. 3 following the Christmas Parade. 

“I cannot believe that in previous years I was unaware that the town did a decorating contest, this will be my first year entering the lodge decorations,” said activities coordinator Whitney Hollingsworth in her entry. “Our residents always have their input and are so willing to help. Our main goal in decorating is to always bring the festive cheer and happiness to our seniors as this is their home.” 

As much cheer as the decorating contest brings, there’s a lot more that could be created. As council discussed following the announcement of the winners who were also the only entries in each category, there needs to be more done to let the public know about the contest. 

“We have a winner. It was a tightly fought contest with one applicant,” said mayor Rob Balay. 

Coun. Sara Graling suggested there may have been a time in the past when councillors were more active in making suggestions on the contest. 

“I think it’s really a big part of our community spirit, so as a council we should give consideration in the future to maybe sort of prodding some of the locals that are decorating to submit an entry, or just to get a little more engagement out there,” she said. 

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