Monday, May 10, 2021

Christmas House Decorating Judging Dates Announced

Photo submitted by Dick Niess | Contest Kick Off: Committee Rear Row—Right to Left—Chairman, Dave Rice, Marty Roddy, Bob Boland, Steve Josselyn, Ken Honecker, Debbie Roddy, Betty Newman, Russ Simmons, Bruce Robertson, Mary Vertin, Larry Sacher. 2nd Row—Right to Left—Bette McGilvray, Carla Mickes, Sandy Dauch, Diane Honecker, Richard Droste, Jerry Swiacki. Front Row—Right to Left—Mike Mickes, Judy Sacher, Linda Turner, Lyn Bedel. Not Pictured—Jacki Strategos, Kristina Lambros, Marc Creach, Dick Niess, Jeanne Rice, Barbara and Keith Dameron.

The 25th Annual Christmas House Decorating Contest and 15th Annual Christmas Business Decorating Contest!

Final preparations were completed by the committee at their annual Potluck Supper on November 22nd, hosted by Bob Boland and Lyn Bedell. Co-Chairs Jeanne and Dave Rice reviewed the details with the committee and report that “all systems are ready” for Marco Island to Light Up for the Holidays. A great Christmas event is in store for islanders and their guests to enjoy throughout the festive season. 

In 1994, Dave Rice, the then overall Christmas Island Style Chairman, started a new event on Marco Island which was a contest to honor the top Christmas decorated homes. Twenty-five years later, the event has grown to include a contest for decorated businesses and developed a committee of 32 dedicated community-minded citizens to make it all happen. 

This year the Preliminary Judging will be done on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, December 9, 10 and 11, from 6:30 PM – 10:30 PM each night. Property and Business owners are instructed to have their lights on all three nights to ensure that the judges may view all properties. The Final Judging is scheduled for Friday, December 13th from 6:30 PM – 10:30 PM. The judges’ bus leaves the parking lot of IBERIA BANK at approximately 6:15 PM following the committee’s kickoff tailgate party that sets in motion the high energy of Christmas Spirit for the entire community. Iberia Bank is the sponsor of the Tailgate event and provides a festive array of snacks and beverages for the committee before visiting the Top 10 Decorated Homes and selecting the 2019 Winner. The committee member liaison with Iberia Bank is Keith Dameron. The committee will travel in the extravagantly Christmas decorated bus generously donated for the evening by the Marco Island YMCA. The bus decorations are designed and installed by a sub-committee led by co-chairpersons Mary Vertin and Bruce Robertson. Traditionally, a car caravan follows the bus to get a firsthand view of the Top 10 Homes. Caravan members are encouraged to park in areas opposite Iberia Bank and join in as the bus exits the bank parking lot. Printed lists of the Top10 properties are available. All owners of the Top 10 Homes receive a plaque and the overall winner receives the coveted yard sign, winner’s plaque, and new this year, a TRAVELING TROPHY to be kept for 1 year by the winners of the House Contest and the Business Contest, and then passed on to next year’s winner.

Businesses are judged on their exterior decorations and the winner receives a plaque, Yard Sign, and a Traveling Trophy for their display for 1 year on December 14th at a time convenient for the business owners. Goodland Businesses are included in the competition. A separate team of judges views the businesses led by co-chairperson Kristina Lambros and Marc Creach. For the Business Contest, it is appreciated that businesses notify Judge Kristina Lambros at with the name of the business and address so no industry is overlooked.

Previous winners display their yard signs annually and continue to decorate in the spirit of the season. Top 10 contenders and “Worth Seeing” addresses are supplied to the media so families may visit and enjoy the beauty and originality of the decorated homes and businesses throughout the holiday season. Judging teams evaluate every home on every street on Marco. Winners are not eligible to win again for a five-year period.

The Committee Judges for the contest are: Co-Chairman, Dave and Jeanne Rice, Bob Boland and Lyn Bedell, Carla and Mike Mickes, Dick Niess, Larry and Judy Sacher, Debbie and Marty Roddy, Liz and Bill Doyle, Ken and Diane Honecker, Jerry Swiacki and Linda Turner, Bette McGilvray, Steven Josselyn, Keith and Barbara Dameron, Sandy Dauch, Kristina Lambros, Marc Creach, Jacki Strategos, Richard Droste, Bruce Robertson, Mary Vertin, and Bette Newman and Russ Simmons. Rice stated, “The committee makeup is superb. Most are long-standing experienced committee members with an unmatched passion to serve Marco Island. They, along with the many home and business owners that participate, are what make the event the success that it is.” 

Rice may be contacted by e-mail at or by cellular at 239-250-2175.

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