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story.lead_photo.caption The people's choice Christmas lights winner for 2017 was Kevin and Judy Murray at 1213 Elmerine Ave. Photo by Marty Beck / News Tribune.

Many would say 2020 has been a depressing, scary year — but there is one annual tradition sure to light up Jefferson City: the annual Christmas Lights Contest and Tour.

In its 35th year, the Christmas Lights Contest and Tour will feature local residences and businesses decked with Christmas lights and decorations. Some of the homes even coordinate their light shows with music.

Jefferson City residents and business owners who want to be in this year's contest and tour must turn in an entry form by noon Friday to the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, at 1299 Lafayette St. The entry form will be published several times in the Jefferson City News Tribune.

The News Tribune will publish a complete list of entries, as well as the contest and tour map, in the Dec. 8 edition.

Residents can enter the contest or just the tour.

Those entering the contest must select one of six categories:

The Clark Griswold Award is for houses that have spectacular light displays or have incorporated motion lights and music.

The Charlie Brown Award is for homes decorated in a simple way but still convey amazing Christmas spirit.

The Norman Rockwell Award is for homes that coordinate the elegance of the light displays with the house.

The Oh Holy Night Award is for homes that have a religious light display theme.

The TV Christmas Classics Award is for homes that feature Christmas characters from TV or movies.

The Best Business Display Award is for businesses that have Christmas light displays.

Judges will hold preliminary judging from 6-10 p.m. Dec. 7-10 by city wards, choosing first- and second-place winners from each category. Ward winners will receive yard signs Dec. 12, and the News Tribune will announce the winners Dec. 13.

The first-place winners from each ward will be judged Dec. 14-16. The citywide winners will receive awards Dec. 17-19, and the News Tribune will announce the winners Dec. 24.

A mail-in ballot to vote for the "People's Choice Award" will be printed on the contest and tour map, and the winner will receive an award.

The Christmas Lights Contest and Tour is hosted by the News Tribune, Jefferson City Parks Department, and Cottonstone Gallery and Frame Shop.

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