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Dreaming of a bright Christmas

Snow isn't flying yet -- or at least it hasn't stuck -- and already, Myron Bailey has Christmas on his mind.

Cottage Grove's mayor has a self-admitted Clark Griswold-esque love of holiday lights displays, decorating his home with thousands of bulbs and dozens of lawn decorations like the movie character made famous by comedian Chevy Chase.

"It's the looks on those kids' faces and those parents' faces when they roll down the car window" and take in a display of Christmas lights, Bailey said. "It's kind of cool."

And the mayor hopes more will join him in his holiday hobby. Next month, Bailey will help judge the First Annual Cottage Grove Holiday Lighting Contest.

Bailey won't be entered in the contest, but says he's more than happy to take part.

"I just thought it would be neat to bring some festivities, some holiday feeling, into the community," Bailey said.

The first annual holiday lights contest works like this: the city is asking residents to nominate impressive lights displays in Cottage Grove by Nov. 25. Nominations can be made on the City of Cottage Grove's Facebook page, the city's Web site (, by e-mailing, via nomination forms at Cottage Grove City Hall or by calling (651) 458-2808.

Judging will take place between Dec. 7 and 11, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Displays will be judged on: overall appearance, creativity, holiday spirit and theme. The use of energy efficient LED lights is encouraged by the city and will be given special consideration in judging. The contest winner will be recognized and receive a prize at the Cottage Grove City Council meeting on Dec. 16.