12-19-16 MDIO contest In its first-ever downtown Christmas lighting promotion, the Maryville Downtown Improvement Organization has announced three winners.

Meyer Auto Center received first place, followed by Northwest A/V in second and Maryville Florists in third.

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Other contest participants include Bank Midwest, Blue Willow Boutique, The Greater Maryville Chamber of Commerce and Rapid Elite.

“While we only had a handful of participants enter the contest this year, we thought it was a great starting point,” Sam Mason, MDIO promotions committee chair, said. “We saw others display lighted Christmas trees and windows, even if they didn’t compete.”

The winners will receive cash reimbursements for seasonal or permanent improvements to their storefronts, which furthers the mission of MDIO, who is working to restore breathe new life into the downtown district of Maryville.

A group effort is evident in bringing Christmas cheer to the downtown district.

The Greater Maryville Chamber of Commerce hosted its second-annual Christmas parade in early December and has ramped up “shop local” efforts throughout the holiday season. The Maryville Parks and Recreation Department has been working to enhance the Winter Wonderland events at Franklin Park. The City of Maryville invested in garland and greenery along the fourth-street corridor.

A portion of the money raised at the MDIO’s “Glitz and Glam” women’s picadilly fundraising event earlier this year will go toward the purchase of Christmas lights in the off season at a discount.

“It’s a process,” MDIO President Matt Gaarder said. “As our organization continues to advance, and as all of these organizations continue to work together, our efforts will become more and more visible.”

The Christmas lighting contest was added to MDIO’s promotions repertoire this year after continued growth of their annual scarecrow contest.