Eagle Holiday Lighting Contest participants spread festive cheer | VailDaily.com
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Eagle Holiday Lighting Contest participants spread festive cheer

Contest winners in town's holiday lighting contest to be announced Thursday

This home localed along York View Drive explodes with Christmas cheer.
Pam Boyd/Vail Daily archive

Sometimes, nothing screams holiday spirit like some good, old-fashioned neighborly competition. Eagle is hosting its annual holiday lighting contest, which encouraged locals to be merry and bright with their exterior holiday decorations. 

Molly Furtado, Eagle special events manager, said she enlisted five Eagle residents to do the 2022 holiday lighting contest judging on Monday. Contest categories include “most creative,” “most whimsical” and “most Clark Griswold.”

The town will announce this year’s lighting contest winners on Thursday, Dec. 22. Winners will receive festive gift bags and a yard sign awarding their decorations. 



Awaiting the results of this year’s contest, among other residents, are Stephanie Hays and her husband, Jason Sharpe. Furtado said the couple’s home always impresses the community with its festive decorations. 

“We love hearing how so many people enjoy seeing the lights every year,” Hays said. “Although, we’re pretty sure our immediate neighbors are glad when they get turned off as it does create quite the light pollution.”

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Hays said growing up, her family went all-out with Christmas decorations, so carrying on the tradition in her adulthood puts her in the festive spirit. 

“Jason, however, didn’t know what he got into when he married me and now, he does the lights on the roof because he loves me,” Hays said. “He’ll often say, ‘Why are we doing the very top peak? It’s going to be covered in snow.”

On display at the couple’s home year after year is a now-44-year-old Santa which was constructed by Hays’ father and eventually handed down to her. 



The Santa decoration has been through a lot over the years, Hays said. She explained that the decoration has been stolen and recovered twice, was run over by a snowplow, and has endured some treacherous weather conditions. After all the decoration had been through, Hays said the Santa was due for some TLC. 

“So, he spent six weeks at the ‘spa’ last year to make himself more presentable for the holidays,” Hays said. “Jason sanded him down and I repainted him. The only change I made was his eye color which I made blue to match my dad’s eyes since it’s his original creation.”

Alongside Santa in the display is the Grinch driving the Eagle train with homemade giant gift boxes in each cart. The boxes’ tags each spell out a family member’s name, Hays said, including the family’s 9-year-old Labrador, Rugby. 

With the scope of the household’s holiday decorations and her children grown and out of the house, Hays said it takes about three full days of nice weather to get the job done. She said that in years when they’ve been late to decorating, neighbors have expressed worry about the beloved display not returning.

“(It) makes us feel good that people look forward to seeing our holiday lights,” Hays said. “Quite frankly, it’s a big part of what keeps us doing it every December.”

While awaiting the results of the 2022 Eagle Holiday Lighting contest, Hays said the family’s main motivation for decorating year after year isn’t for the contest or for others, but instead for the feeling it brings them. 

“These lights bring out a little kid in me,” Hays said. “Memories, hope for a bright future, and for a sliver of a moment, it can make me forget about a tough day.”


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