A close up of the Nativity display at the Cadle Jensen home (photo by MJ Cadle).

Winners of the Ketchikan AARP Christmas Lighting Contest were announced Wednesday. Judging took place over the past few days, and homes and businesses received honors in 19 categories including “Most Colorful,” “Best Winter Theme,” “Largest Christmas Lights Display,” and “Most Original.”

MJ Cadle and Dave Jensen won “Best Design” for their home. Cadle says they’ve received honorable mentions in the past, but this is the first year they’ve won.

“I love it. I have to admit. The main reason we do it though is because so many people enjoy it. We do it mostly because people tell us all year long that it really brightens their winter drive. And winning is just an added perk.”

Cadle says she likes to have little “vignettes,” rather than lights and decorations everywhere. There’s a Santa Claus section with his reindeer, a Nativity scene, and a candy cane corner that Cadle says is popular with children. This year she added a section inspired by Washington state glass artist Dale Chihuly.

“It’s lots of large ornaments and then I made spires out of other ornaments on wire that stand up and things. It’s just fun to come up with new things to do and try and make it different. It’s sort of my winter art project.”

“Most Original” display went to Sharon and Dan Zink, Sr.  Dan Zink says they’ve won in the past and didn’t switch things up much this year, other than replacing a lot of burned out lights.

“We just like to have a place where people go by and notice the lights. We just think that living by the highway it’s the thing to do.”

One of the more unique items on display is a helicopter. He says there is also a gnome village that’s not visible from the highway, but will take people on tours. Zink says they received an unexpected gift Wednesday night.

“There was something hanging on our door knob outside. Someone had stopped by and left a nice note appreciating the lights and some candy kisses in a little bag. Now that is really cool I thought.

In addition to homes and businesses, recognition is also given to neighborhoods having the best lighting displays. This year, as has been the case in the past, Tower Road and Canyon Road were selected.

The event was sponsored by IBEW Local 1547 and the Ketchikan Chapter of AARP. Prizes for winners are credits to their electric bills.


Here is the complete list of winners, along with honorable mentions.


Best Design: MJ Cadle and Dave Jensen. Entrance to Forest Park Road.  Judges’ Comments: “Cadle Jensens never fail to treat the community with their lights. Excellent design and color in mind. Trees, Santa and Nativity scenes.”

Most Colorful: Sean Conley Residence. 3700 Justice Court.  Judges’ Comments: “Thank you – all those icicles around your home. Trees – real and plastic. Snowmen – real and plastic covered with lights is a real treat to see year after year.”

Most Original: Kelly Jenks. 3017 South Tongass Hwy.  Judges’ Comments: “What a treat! Have it all – design, color and display. Thank you! Snowmen, large joy sign and feeling of Christmas.”

Honorable Mention: Jason Kolanko. 33 Power House Road.



Best Christmas for Kids Display: Brian Gilson. 3760 Alaska Avenue. Judges’ Comments: Truly a kid’s choice with Santa, fire truck, dogs.”

Best Winter Theme: Edward Graham residence. 522 Tower Road.

Largest Christmas Light Display: John and Linda Gilson. 3857 Fairview.  Judges’ Comments: “Thank you again for the large Christmas theme’s put together in lights. Your work and effort is appreciated by our community.”

Neighborhoods with the Best Home Lighting Displays: Tower Road. Canyon Road.

Smallest Space with the Most Lights: John and Kathy Flora. 1127 Woodland Ave.

Very Colorful – Mass Lighting: Dave Myl residence. 823 Harris Street.



Most Original: Daniel Zink residence. 12807 North Tongass Hwy.  Judges’ Comments: “Every Christmas season they come up with something new. Thank you. Thank you.”

Most Colorful: Monta residence. West Mattle Road

Honorable Mention: Cockrum residence. 5791 North Tongass Hwy.



  • Totem Bight State Historical Park parking lot. 9883 N. Tongass Hwy.
  • Bar Harbor Ale House. Near Berth 4.
  • Cape Fox Hotel. 800 Venetia Ave.
  • Orca Jewels. 56 Front Street.
  • Monarch Jewels. 38 Front Street.