Jeff LaBonte

Last night was judging night for the 6th Annual Light Up Auburn contest, at least for my three young judges.  There are 21 entrants this year, a big increase over the dozen or so who have entered in prior years.   Light Up Auburn organizer and Recreation and Culture Director, Kristen Pappas has invited my kids to help judge the contest a couple of times now.  This is great fun for the kids, and what better way to judge the “Through the eyes of a child” category than through the eyes of children?

For my part, I have not judged since the very first contest.  But I always make it a point to drive around and see the entries, and all the wonderfully decorated homes and businesses in town.  Sometimes I think there should be an ‘at large’ category where judges can just vote for any house or business they like.  There are quite a few gems out there whose addresses are not on the official contest list!

This year, I served as photographer for Auburn Mass Daily, which was at least as much fun as judging.  Of course, in this day and age one has to be a little concerned about raising suspicion when pulling up to someone’s home after dark and taking a bunch of pictures!  Fortunately, no one felt compelled to call in the Auburn Police, and all went smoothly.

Some homes are decorated in a very traditional manner, like the home at 155 Pakachoag St.  Others are designed to send kids into a frenzy, such as 137 Bryn Mawr and 12 Reithel.  Some have taken the leap to LED displays coordinated to music, like 5 Thomas St. (you definitely want to go see this, and it’s on a cul-de-sac so you can sit and watch without worrying about traffic).  A home on South St. has embraced the Frozen theme.

It is fun to see the homes that have entered year after year, and watch their displays change and grow.  It’s also great to watch the event itself grow.  One thing is for sure: Auburn displays tremendous holiday spirit. Going around visiting these houses brings me to parts of Auburn I don’t travel through very much, and we saw lots of great lights in these neighborhoods.  I planned our route as efficiently as I could and we were still out for about an hour and a half.  You could easily drive around Auburn for another hour and not run out of entertaining displays. We lost one kid who fell asleep at about house 16.  The rest were tired, but having a lot of fun.  I can assure you, they take this judging thing very seriously.

I was able to get photos of almost all the entrants; unfortunately a couple just didn’t come out and we never got to one last house.  So I will try to update this on Thursday with the remaining houses. I also included one or two that weren’t on the entry list, just because we though they looked cool!

Thanks to all the families and businesses in town that put so much effort into their holiday decorations.  It really does bring a special spirit to our town this time of year. We’ll bring you the contest winners as soon as the ballots are counted and the results are made public.

 

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