After a dark and difficult year for many, the Juneau Elks Lodge Board No. 20 wanted to end 2020 on a brighter note.
“We thought it would be nice to do something to brighten things up, so we looked at the Alaska archives for ideas,” said Dave Hurlbut, Juneau Elks member.
As the group started talking, several recalled a Christmas decorating contest from years gone by. Specifically, one sponsored by the Juneau Empire in the early 1990s called Lights Up Juneau. Because the contest was so fondly remembered within the group, they decided to relaunch it as Lights Up Juneau 2020 with Hurlbut as the chair of the effort.
After securing prize donations from local businesses and organizations, they announced the contest Dec. 2. Shortly after that, the historic atmospheric river swept through the area prompting flooding and landslides and thwarting decorating plans for would-be participants. Still, the contest attracted five entrants.
Earlier this week, a panel of judges comprised of contest sponsors visited each participating house and selected winners in various categories. Because the prize pool was so generous, each entrant received a cash prize.
The house crowned the Best of Juneau was awarded cash and prizes, including a premium tram pass for the upcoming season. It’s located at 937 W. 11th St., near the Northern Light United Church downtown.
“This year was a great experiment,” Hurlbut said. “Next year, we plan to be bigger and better. People put a lot of work into decorating their homes, and I hope to attract more entrants next year.”
• Contact Dana Zigmund at Dana.Zigmund@juneauempire.com.