Winners of the Lights of Love "What Are You Most Thankful For?" essay contest answered the question as might be expected -- friends, family, food, freedom -- but the first place entries had some extra special things to be thankful for.
Kate Herschberger, winner of the third to fifth grade contest, is thankful for Riley Hospital. She said many children, including herself, rely on the staff of the hospital to ensure their health.
"Some children go there all the time, so it's almost like their home," Herschberger said.
Joining Herschberger were Jack Riggle in second place and Yu Shitara in third.
Rebecca Moore, who won the middle school contest, is thankful for Ellie Knuth, who she babysits. She said through Ellie's eyes, she learns much about herself.
"When Ellie does smile, I think the whole world might just stop spenning for a few minutes," Moore said. "She not only makes me feel special, she reminds me of myself when I was younger."
Tanner Scarff took second place in the middle school contest, followed by Alex Paré in third.
Also honored at the contest were the Christmas light coloring contest winners. Abby Culver took first place in this competition, followed by Calvin Cox in second place, Keirsten Clark in third and Abbie Beauchamp, honorable mention.
Following the presentations of the awards, the Tzouanakis After School Enrichment Choir entertained the crowd with several songs, including their finale, "Santa's Hoedown."
The program also honored the winners of the Chamber of Commerce 2010 Spirit of Christmas Award. This year, the honor went to Family Support Services, a first time entrant.
The evening concluded with the tree lighting by the contest winners.