The elegant charm of the Rodney and Linda Tollefsrud home on North Oak Street was voted first place in Mabel’s first lighting contest, sponsored by the Mabel Business Association.  DAVID STOEGER/NEWS-RECORD
The elegant charm of the Rodney and Linda Tollefsrud home on North Oak Street was voted first place in Mabel’s first lighting contest, sponsored by the Mabel Business Association. DAVID STOEGER/NEWS-RECORD
"They had a hard time," said Mabel Business Association member Lavonne Mengis with a chuckle. "There were three, four or five places that were all very good - so it was a hard decision for them (the judges) to figure out which ones to put as winners."

Mengis and two judges from the Spring Grove area braved the cold on Sunday, Dec. 15, and toured Mabel area homes that were entered in the first Mabel Home Lighting Contest.

Mengis reported that a dozen homes were entered into the contest during its first year.

"We went back several times to the three (or) four places that they kind of picked in the running, but anyway, they finally got what they felt was the best," Mengis added. "Everybody looks at different things, so we have to go by what the judges say, I guess."

The business association awards the first place home with a prize of $200, the second place with $150 and the third place home with $100.

The first place home was the home of Rodney and Linda Tollefsrud located on the 100 block of North Oak Street in Mabel. Second place winner was the home of Chad and Melissa Hunter, located on the 400 block of North Oak Street. The third place winner was the home of Dan and Janet Sanden, located on the 300 block of North Elm Street.

"I was happy with (all) 12 (who entered), very happy," Mengis said. "I know the judges too; they said there was plenty of good houses to judge from, so I was pleased with the turnout."

The two judges were from the Spring Grove area, and the business association declined to release their identities. Non-Mabel residents were chosen to keep the contest unbiased.

The Mabel Business Association also sponsored a small business Saturday and Santa at the Mabel Community Center this holiday season. The home lighting contest was something new that was introduced this year.

"We just decided to do this (the contest), this year as something different," Mengis said.

Mengis said the question as to whether or not the home lighting contest will happen next year remains. "I think there could have been a few more places that could have registered...(but) sometimes the second year does not go as good either; so you have to figure out what's best."

"We had quite a few of them that were very good so, it wasn't an easy job to pick out the winners I'll say that much," Mengis said.

"I'd like to thank all the ones that entered," she concluded. "A lot of times people decorate anyway, so it's kinda fun to have something like this going so that maybe they can win a little something for all their work and the cost that they put into their decorations."