PALESTINE — Votes were cast and counted and at the end of the day, one fire station reigned supreme in Palestine's first annual “Station’s Aglow” holiday lighting contest.
City Manager Wendy Ellis presented a trophy to Station 2 during a ceremony on Tuesday.
The station won the most votes from people in the community, who were asked to vote for their favorite station via Facebook, phone calls or mail-in votes.
The contest featured the four stations of the Palestine Fire Department. Each station was given a set budget and told to design a specialized lighting display. A total of 261 votes were cast, with Station 2 raking in the highest number.
Station 2's winning display incorporated colored lights to depict a scene of firemen battling a blaze.
Firefighter Allen Parker, the creative mind behind the design, said it was fun coming up with the idea.
“It took a couple adjustments, but I think we nailed it,” Parker said.
Palestine Fire Chief Alan Wilcher said the firefighters “really got into the Christmas spirit.
“The guys were creative and used a lot of imagination,” Wilcher said. “I was really impressed.”
Station 1 hung a large wreath over the bay doors and used strings of lights to frost the station, as well as to accent the historic fire bell in the yard. Captain Jeff Croft said the group went for a classic Christmas look and plans to step it up next year.
Station 3 set up animated deer and used several strands of lights to wrap trees in the yard and convert the flag pole into a giant Christmas tree. Lt. Devin Jackson said the team mulled over different designs and settled on creating a “wonderland” of lights.
Station 4 was similarly covered in white lights with a snowman and quite a few brightly-lit trees.
Overall, Wilcher said the fire stations were excited to be part of the holiday experience, and practical solutions came out of it.
“When Station 2 lit the number on their station, it made us think, ‘Why not the other stations too?’” Wilcher said. “So, in 2014 we will be looking at the firemen creating lighted numbers for stations 1, 3 and 4 so citizens can see and find the stations at night easier.”
The City of Palestine plans to make the contest a yearly event.