UNION COUNTY — A 1945 classic helped the front yard of a Union home sparkle for the present.

The Christmas display outside the home of Dennis and Jodi Falk at 516 E. Fulton St, was the winner of the residential division of the Union County Chamber of Commerce's annual Holiday Decoration Competition.

The Christmas display at the Nate Conklin State Farm Insurance office at 1112 Adams Ave., La Grande, placed first in the business category.

This year's Christmas decoration contest had 178 entrants, far more than in 2019, said Suzannah Moore-Hemann, executive director of the Union County Chamber of Commerce. She said she even more will enter in 2021.

"We want to build on this so that it can keep getting brighter and brighter," Moore-Hemann said.

The Falks' display included a 1945 Chevrolet pickup with models of snowmen and pigs in striking fashion along with lights outlining the vehicle. The winning display took 25 hours to assemble, said Dennis Falk, who did much of the work on the showcase that included lights on his home's fences and across the front exterior of the house.

"I ran out of lights. This was the first time I have gotten this crazy. This is 2020 and all rules are out," Dennis Falk said.

The Union display, which the Falks have disassembled, proved to be a traffic stopper.

"Every time we looked out the window someone was parked in the street looking at it," Dennis Falk said.

The State Farm display in downtown La Grande stopped foot traffic with its Santa mailbox, Santa parking sign, giant ornaments and much more.

"It is about decorating the community. This is 2020, we needed some cheer," said Tami Conklin, co-owner of the State Farm office with her husband, Nate, who is a State Farm agent.

Most of the display's elements were red and white, matching State Farm Insurance's colors, said Tami Conklin, who put up the display.

The office and Dennis and Jodi Falk, plus the second- and third-place finishers in the residential division won energy credits from Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative.

The Most Spirited Town Award went to Union for having the highest percentage of its population participate in the contest. Union receives a trophy for winning the honor.

The Neighborhood Award went to the La Grande neighborhood of G Avenue in the 500 to 700 block area. This marks the second straight year this neighborhood won the award.

John Howard & Associates and Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative sponsored the contest. The event's competition committee judged entrants on creativity, energy efficiency, creative nonenergy decorations, theme and overall showmanship.

General assignment reporter

Beats include the communities of North Powder, Imbler, Island City and Union, education, Union County veterans programs and local history. Dick joined The Observer in 1983, first working as a sports and outdoors reporter.

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