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Downtown Association judges have spoken: Red Rooster most creative telling holiday story

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Downtown Association judges have spoken: Red Rooster most creative telling holiday story
Red Rooster Trading Co. won the award for best overall window in the Missoula Downtown Association Window Decorating Contest.
Photo by MICHAEL GALLACHER/Missoulian

Red Rooster Trading Co. won the Missoula Downtown Association's "Best Overall Window" this holiday season, and it's easy to see why.

The window, which uses a series of intricately designed stockings and curious figures dressed in holiday garb, is arresting and requires a closer look. The figures, with their overly elongated legs and necks wrapped in flowers, really make you want to smudge the glass for a better peek.

"It's really a great window down there," said Julie Weaver, MDA's program director. "There were lots of great windows this year, and lots of people who've won before won again."

The theme for this year's contest was "Holiday Storyland," which is just open-ended enough for almost any sort of design to work. The kitchen store In Good Taste, with its huge teddy bear sitting by a cozy fireplace, won for best use of that theme in its decoration. The story, it seems, is that bears like big rocking chairs and an ample supply of hot cocoa and cookies.

The story is a little more risque just up North Higgins Avenue at Bella Donna, which won for "Most Elegant" window. There you'll find rather provocative lingerie in deep burgundy and black; they're made, fittingly, by a company called Noel. Nearby, a gentleman's boxers hang from a drawer. And tucked in the window's left corner are some sort of hosiery, the packaging of which says, "Spanx."

That could have led to a Bella Donna victory in the "Best Use of Small Space" perhaps, but that award went to Adventure Cycling, which features, not surprisingly, Santa's sleigh as a bicycle.

"This was their first year in the contest, so they were pretty excited to win something," Weaver said.

Whippersnappers won the "Children's Choice" award, and a new shop, Betty's Divine, won for "Most Festive." Betty's, located on the Hip Strip on South Higgins Avenue, is rich with black and gold party attire, backed by long, sparkling strands of gold tinsel.

Again, it's not clear what sort of story Betty's window tells, but it's easy to imagine a festive and elegant tale if it combined, say, its window with Bella Donna's.

The MDA has been running its window contest since 1999, and the contest is judged by volunteers who are members of the association.

"It's just something that's fun that helps bring people downtown," Weaver said.

Reach reporter Michael Moore at (406) 523-5252 or at

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