The Christmas House and Business Decorating Committee met recently for the annual Committee Pot Luck Supper, hosted this year by Paula and Richard Robinson. Final preparations were completed for the 19th Annual Christmas House and Business Decorating Contest.
Excitement is building among Marco Island residents, and early decorations are already being installed. The Marco Island community is known for its enthusiastic holiday decorations and Christmas spirit. Residents and visitors alike drive around the island to enjoy the innovative decorations.
The contest committee is comprised of Marco Island residents and sponsored by LCEC, Centennial Bank and committee members. Preliminary judging will take place on December 14 and 15. Decorated properties are to remain with lights on for both nights to insure that the judges will view all properties.
“Judging the winner in the House and Business Decorating Contest is a difficult task, and one that the judges take very seriously,” said Jeanne Rice, co-chair. The vast number of decorated homes on the island also makes the task challenging. Said Co-Chair Dave Rice, “in 2014 some 1,800 properties were decorated, and being selected from this number as one of the top 10 is not easy. The competition brings out the best and most original decorations.”
The magic of the nightly display of lighted properties expresses the festive feelings of islanders. Everyone is encouraged to join the festivities by displaying lights on their business property or home.
For the House Decorating Contest, the committee divides Marco Island into nine geographic areas. From 6-10:30 PM, for the preliminaries, nine teams of volunteers will travel on every road and select the top candidates. Annually, the judging teams change zones. Of those homes selected, the top 10 make it to the finals.
Final judging will take place on Friday, December 18, from 6:30-10:30 PM. The final 10 homes are judged by the entire membership of the committee. The top ten decorated homes are viewed from the committee bus, starting at 6:30 PM, following the committees tailgate party at Centennial Bank. Centennial Bank is a longtime sponsor of the tailgate party that sets in motion a high energy of Christmas spirit for the entire community. Typically, there is a car caravan following the bus to see the 10 best homes in advance.
The house winners receive their awards on December 18. The night of the finals, the top 10 receive a finalist plaque presented by the judging team of that area. The winner of theHouse Contest receives a check for $250, a traditional yard sign and a winner’s plaque.
Businesses enjoy their own contest and are judged on their exterior decorations. The business winner will be presented with a plaque and a yard sign during business hours on December 19, by judges Marc Creech, Kristina Lambros and Chairman Dave Rice.
The addresses of the finalists and a mention of others “worth viewing” will be provided to the local media so that “Christmas Revelers” may drive around Marco Island and enjoy the wonderful decorations throughout the season.
Contest rules state that previous contest winners must wait five years before being eligible to win again. Former winners display their yard signs annually, and continue to decorate their homes and businesses.
Lee County Electric Company is a proud supporter of this event, and has been since the beginning. In 1997, Dave Rice, then the overall Christmas Island Style Chairman, requested Lee County Electric Company’s support of a new event on Marco Island, which was a contest to honor the top Christmas decorated homes. For 19 years, LCEC has annually supported this independent program. LCEC representative, Tricia Dorn says, “It is our pleasure to continue financial support of this wonderful annual community event. The hundreds of private homes and businesses that decorate are customers of LCEC and we feel that we are not just a sponsoring business, but a real partner in the success of the event.”
The committee judges for the contest are: Co-Chair, 2012 Citizen of the Year Dave Rice, Co-Chair, Jeanne Rice; Treasurer, Bob Boland, Carla and Mike Mickes; Public Relations Chairman, Dick Niess; City Councilman, Larry Sacher; Judy Sacher; Debbie and Marty Roddy; Paula Robinson; past Volunteer of the Year recipient, Richard Robinson; Bill and Liz Doyle; City Councilman, Ken Honecker; Diane Honecker; Jerry Swiacki, Chairman of Marco Island Parks and Recreation Advisory Board; Linda Turner, Director of Operations, Eagle Sanctuary; Barry and Peggy Grass; Past President, Marco Area Board of Realtors, Bette McGilvray; Steven Josselyn and Sue and Jeff Hewson. New members added to the 2015 committee include Keith and Barbara Dameron, Sandy Dauch, Kristina Lambros and Marc Creech.
Stated Dave Rice, “The committee makeup is superb. Our longstanding experienced committee members have unmatched passion to serve Marco Island. They, along with the many home and business owners that participate are what makes the event the success that it is.”
For further information, contact Dave Rice by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 239-250-2175.