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'Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells' takes first place in Parade of Trees display

Mary Madson and Sherri Lefevbre's 'Jingle Bells and Shotgun Shells' tree took first place People's Choice Award during Lake Park's Parade of Trees.

Lake Park wasted no time getting into the holiday spirit -- the Parade of Trees opened on Thanksgiving Day at 3, and by 8 p.m., over 230 people had ventured through the maze of trees.

The parade continued through the weekend until Sunday afternoon. Over 450 people visited the parade during the holiday weekend. This holiday celebration is definitely catching on and becoming a holiday tradition for many families.

Highlights of this year's parade included a tribute to longtime Lake Park resident, Gerry Schlueter, who passed away earlier this fall, a feast for the children's eyes as they witnessed an outer space holiday display, several trees presented the American spirit and even a tree where others could share messages of hope for Josh Huesman as this young man endures cancer treatments.

Although there were many great trees, the people spoke loud and clear in the voting for their peoples choice award. Mother and daughter team, Mary Madson and Sherri Lefevbre, designed the "Jingle Bells and Shotgun Shells" tree.

The tree was a great display of the other Minnesota holiday -- deer hunting season. The tree was adorned with shotgun shells and blaze orange jingle bells. Props around the tree brought the tree literally straight to the hunting shack you could almost hear the crackling fire and smell the wood smoke as you looked in on the scene.

The braided rag rug, deer antlers, hunting boots and old wooden rocking chair were all parts of the scene. But perhaps more engaging was the framed photo displayed on a table next to the tree.

A snapshot of the Madson brothers: John, Bruce, Gary and Glen, all decked out in their blaze orange hunting attire. The grins on their faces displaying the enjoyment they found in the sport of hunting, being in the woods but, most importantly, the enjoyment these brothers found in spending time together.

Photos like this one have become quite the keepsake for the Madsons due to the far too early loss of two of the brothers. Both brothers, Bruce and Glenn, passed away within a few months of each other in 2008.

The tree may have been about shotgun shells and jingle bells but, in a much more subtle way, commemorated the closeness of this family and the time these brothers shared together. The tree was well deserving of the 2011 People's choice award.

Often times the parade serves as much more than just a display of Christmas trees but is a way to share our thoughts and feelings in so many other ways.

Thanks to all who took part in making this year's parade another success.