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Psychedelic tree wins holiday lights display contest

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Jim Wirkus and Bill Davison featured a Rock the Halls display at their home at 7682 Immanuel Ave. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 4
Jim Wirkus and Bill Davison featured a Rock the Halls display at their home at 7682 Immanuel Ave. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 4

COTTAGE GROVE — More than a dozen homes were nominated for this year’s Winter Holiday Lights & Decoration Contest, a partnership between the City of Cottage Grove and the South Washington County Bulletin. 

The displays were evaluated on effort, originality and attention to detail.

This year’s winner, Shane and Amy Seif, made an ever-changing LED tree the focus of their display at 6788 Cattail Ave.

The judges were particularly impressed that Shane Seif assembled the tree himself. He built the frame using a metal pole and 16 electrical conduits that he fanned out into a cone shape. He then added LED light strips, which he sequenced and synced to music using a software program called Light-O-Rama.

“You can’t just go and buy the tree as is,” he said. “It’s a lot of labor in terms of sequencing things. You can’t just plug it in, turn on music and have things magically happen. You have to tell the computer which lights to turn on.”

Seif, who is director of software development for a Wisconsin company called Trident Mechanical, accepted the award at the Dec. 5 Cottage Grove City Council meeting.

Judge for yourself by checking out the displays:

8762 Jody Circle S.

8638 Hadley Ave.

7590 Hyde Ave. S.

8683 Janero Ave. S.

9055 Indian Blvd. S.

7742 Irvin Ave. S.

7782 E. Point Douglas Road S.

7813 Irish Ave. S.

7384 Jorgensen Ave. S.

6788 Cattail Ave. S.

9244 Indian Blvd. S.

7682 Immanuel Ave.

9259 Indian Blvd. S.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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