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Lighting up the night

Jason Unrau
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Dec 23/05) - For the third year your humble reporter was asked to participate as a judge for the town's annual Christmas Light Up Contest and for this year's trip around the neighbourhood, I joined co-judges, Melissa Perkins, convention and tourism manager for the town, and councillors Terry Halifax and Rebecca Robertson (student rep).

NNSL Photo/graphic

Roberta Cardinal earned an honourable mention for this wonderful snow sculpture carved by her partner Darcy Gordon. - Jason Unrau/NNSL photo

"It's really dead this year," remarked Robertson at the get-go. "I guess people like Halloween better."

"What were you expecting, Vegas or something?" retorted Halifax, confident that we would find the winter wonderlands spotting the streets around Inuvik, and find them we did.

It wasn't long until Perkins was piloting the town's minivan down Wolverine Road bringing the lot of us before Mervin Joe's winter fortress.

Complete with inukshuks and teepees dotting the perimeter of his yard, Joe's effort would eventually be judged as the year's best.

A close second was Kelcy McDonald's display at 26 Raven Street, where colourful lighting was employed to sparkling effect.

However, as deliberations got down to who would win third place, it proved a difficult choice and with a collective lacklustre effort among the town's businesses, us judges decided to award the business category prizes to more deserving and creative residences.

To quote one in the group who shall remain nameless: "We can't award first prize in the business category to a sagging snowman."

Perhaps being won over by the fat Santa legs sticking out from a small igloo, we decided on Wanda McLeod's display at her 38 Reliance Street home as this year's bronze medal winner.

Honourable mentions went out to Wally Ballas' tribute to the Montreal Canadiens which can be seen in all its resplendent green and red ice sculpture glory at 62 Boot Lake and my personal favourite, Roberta Cardinal's front yard at 15 A Mackenzie Road that is more of a snowcarving masterpiece rather than a lighting spectacle.

"I've never really done any carving before, I just wanted to try a snow sculpture," said creator of the mother and baby polar bears Darcy Gordon, Cardinal's partner.

"I kept looking out the window at the snowbank thinking and finally figured I could make a mother bear in a den."

This was a perfect companion for the smaller "baby" bear he made a week earlier.

So what inspired Gordon?

"We've got some grandchildren and nieces who visit so I like to decorate every year," he explained.

"One of the girls said it was like a mother and child reunion and I liked that."

And there you have it. So if you are looking for something to do this holiday, why not take a stroll around town and watch out for the bears!