UNION — The Union County Recreation Department has extended the entry deadline for its annual Christmas Lighting Contest, giving local residents more time to enter and win money for showing off their holiday decorating skills.
Jessica Gallman, department program director, said the deadline to enter the contest has been extended to Dec. 14. Gallman said the winners were originally supposed to be announced at the Dec. 11 county council meeting, but since some people do not decorate as early as others, the deadline has been extended and winners will be announced on Dec. 19. A list of winners will be published in The Union Daily Times.
The contest — which is free to enter and open to the entire county — includes two categories, Elegant and Creative. Decorations submitted in the Elegant category should include items such as white lights, wreaths, ribbons, flood lights. Inflatable decorations are not allowed in the Elegant category. Creative category decorations should include items such as colored lights, inflatables, music. Monetary prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place in each category — $100 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place.
Gallman is a former judge of the contest, and she said her favorite part is the Elegant category.
“I like the white lights, ribbons and wreaths — the houses that look like they come out of a magazine,” Gallman said. “I like the Creative category, too. I enjoy seeing the looks on the kids’ faces when they see the colorful displays.”
As a tip to those who are interested in entering, Gallman said, “the brighter, the better.” She said judges also look for neatness and the way everything in the display flows together.
Gallman said she hopes people will encourage their friends and neighbors with Christmas lights to enter the free contest.
Entrants aren’t the only thing needed for the lighting contest.
“We need fresh eyes,” Gallman said, explaining that returning judges see many of the same houses every year.
Gallman said the age range of judges can be from middle-school age to seniors, as the anonymous judging process is simple, using a 1-5 rating system.
Once the Dec. 14 entry deadline has passed, the recreation department will provide a list of entrants’ addresses to Christmas light enthusiasts.
“If a family wants to pick up a list and ride around and look at lights, this will tell them where to go in Union,” Gallman said.
The list will also be available in The Union Daily Times.
For more information about the contest, call (864) 429-1670 or visit the Union County Recreation Department website at www.unionscrec.com.
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at email@example.com.