Final preparations were completed by the committee at their annual Pot Luck Supper on November 16 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 1997, Dave Rice, then the overall Christmas Island Style Chairman, started a new event on Marco Island which was a contest to honor the top Christmas decorated homes. Twenty-two years, later, the event has grown to include a contest for decorated businesses and developed a committee of 34 dedicated community minded citizens to make it all happen.
This year the Preliminary Judging will be done on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, December 10, 11 and 12 from 6:30-10:30 PM each night. Property owners are instructed to have their lights on all three nights to insure that the judges view all properties. The Final Judging is scheduled for Friday, December 14 from 6:30-10 PM. The judges’ bus leaves the parking lot of Centennial Bank at 6:15 PM following the committees’ kickoff tailgate party that sets in motion a high energy of Christmas Spirit for the entire community.
Traditionally, a car caravan follows the bus to get a first hand view of the Top 10 Homes. All owners of the Top 10 Homes receive a plaque and the overall winner receives the coveted “yard sign” and a special winner’s plaque. Said Rice, “In 2017, in spite of the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, over 1,800 homes and 100 plus businesses were decorated bringing much joy to islanders and their families during this stressful time.” Businesses are judged on their exterior decorations and the winner receives a plaque and a Yard Sign on December 15. Many previous winners display their yard sign 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 throughout the holiday season. The Island is divided into nine areas for the House Contest with a judging team evaluating every home on every street on Marco. The judging teams rotate to a different zone each season. Winners are not eligible to win again for a five-year period.
For the Business Contest, since it is a bit more difficult for the judges to view from the street, it is appreciated that businesses notify Chairman Dave Rice with the name of the business and address so no business is overlooked. Email the information to Dave Rice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Judges and Committee
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, Barry and Peggy Grass, Bette McGilvray, and Steven Josselyn, Keith and Barbara Dameron, Sandy Dauch, Kristina Lambros and Marc Creach, Jacki Strategos and Richard Droste, Donna and Jim Rohrbach, Bruce Robertson and Mary Vertin, and Rosemary and Michael Wick. Stated Rice, “The committee makeup is superb. Most are long-standing, experienced committee members with 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.”
Dave Rice may be contacted by email at marcoislanddavecomcast.net or by phone at 239-250-2175.