NEW CASTLE, Colorado - Brian and Rebecca Fuller of New Castle are the first winners in the Post Independent's holiday lighting contest.
To see their display, drive by 521 Honeysuckle Drive, New Castle, just off Alder Avenue in Castle Valley Ranch. The display is lit from 5-9:30 p.m. every night through Jan. 1.
The judges at the Post Independent chose the Fuller home because of the orderly presentation of lights using an all-white theme with just a few well-placed color accents.
The lighting color scheme complements the home's golden siding. Placing the Christmas tree, also decorated with all-white lights, in the front window makes a pleasing accent shining from the interior, and the yard decorations add depth and merriment to the display.
The Fullers have been putting up holiday lights for about six years, making the display a bit larger each year, said Brian Fuller.
Holiday lighting is a longstanding tradition in his family, he said. Many of the yard decorations on Honeysuckle Drive are handed down from his parents, purchased 20 or more years ago at True Value in Glenwood Springs.
One year, his family decorated their boat at Lake Powell and won a lighting competition there, he recalled.
The Fullers put their lights up over the Thanksgiving weekend, with Rebecca and daughter Kayla, 15, working inside to unwrap, untangle and get each string in working order, and Brian hanging the light strings outside.
Cameron Fuller, who will be turning 4 next week, provided the inspiration to add a blow-up Santa and blow-up Snoopy to the display, adding just a dash of color.
"We like the classic, simple white look," Brian said. But at Christmastime last year, Cameron was fascinated by the blow-up Snoopy, so Brian and Rebecca decided to add the figure because Cameron loved it.
To decorate the house, the Fullers use 40 regular strands of outdoor lights and 10 strands of icicle lights. The yard decorations come from Brian's dad, Ron Fuller, and a few recent purchases.
The family's electric bill goes up by about $200 a month during the lighting season, Brian said. He hasn't converted to LEDs, he said, because white LEDs give off a light that is too blue, and wouldn't create the warm glowing effect now seen.
Still aiming for a more elaborate display, Brian said he wants to learn how to expertly wrap a tree in lights so he can light up the aspen tree in the family's front yard. His model are the crabapple trees in downtown Glenwood Springs that are wrapped each year in strands of white and red lights.
"My goal for next year is to get that done," Brian said. He expects to start on that project well before Thanksgiving.
Two more weeks remain in the Post Independent's holiday lighting contest, which is open to all residents of Garfield County, from Carbondale to Parachute.
"As the winners are chosen, a donation to the LIFT-UP food bank will be made in honor of these three winning families, for sharing their festive holiday spirits," said Stephanie Schafer, publisher of the Post Independent.
The holiday lighting contest rules are simple.
• Submit a photo of your home's decorated exterior, along with your name, street address, city, and a daytime phone number. Winners will be contacted for details about their display.
• Photos must be high resolution, large files of 1 MB or larger. (Make sure your email program doesn't automatically downsize the attachment.)
• All photos submitted by noon on Friday will be considered for publication in the following Monday's paper. Contest deadlines will be noon on Friday, Dec. 14 and 21.
• Send photos and your info to: firstname.lastname@example.org.