A Saskatchewan city is holding a contest to see who’s got the best light display and bring some holiday cheer amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recreation manager Shannon Marshall said the City of Melfort wanted to recognize the effort and lengths that residents go to in decorating their homes.
“We thought it was a great way to recognize the people and the cheerleaders that want to bring spirits up and instill Christmas cheer in, not only themselves, but their neighbours and their surrounding communities,” she said.
“I know people are feeling pandemic fatigue. I mean, this is the second year that we’ve done the same old song and dance.
“I think people are getting a little bit tired but that’s OK. We’re going to keep pushing for that Christmas cheer. We know it exists and so we’re just going to keep pushing positivity no matter what.”
This is the second annual “Christmas lights contest” after the success that shun through in 2020.
“Last year, we thought, ‘Hey, if we have 20-some houses nominated, we’ll be doing really good. That’s not bad for a community of 6,000,’” Marshall said.
“And by the deadline, we actually ended up having over 100 houses registered (last year).”
“Let’s reach, like, 125 (in 2021) … Let’s get a little bit more out there, a little bit more interactive.”
According to Marshall, the contest seems to stir up a competitive nature in some decorators.
“I remember last year, somebody emailed me and they’re like, ‘OK, I went to go get lights for a light display for your contest and … they’re sold out everywhere,’” Marshall said.
“I would say, definitely, people get really involved.”
“Some of the people that competed and won last year … I’ve seen rumblings on social media that they’re looking to amp-up their displays for this year.”
The city is once again putting together online and printed maps for people to take a “twinkle tour” and experience the displays on the same night as a community.
“The whole community went out and enjoyed our light displays, and we had a really good feedback and turnout for that also. We were super impressed,” Marshall said.
“It’s something that reiterates positive energy and with COVID and everything being cancelled or altered or somehow changed in a way, this is one thing that we can do.
“I kept getting people running into me and saying, ‘Oh, this is so awesome because I can see so many people out and around town, but this is a great activity because even in the vehicle, you can stay within your household bubbles.’”
Contest nominations can be submitted by emailing email@example.com or calling 306-752-7200 by Dec. 17.
“You can nominate your house or you can nominate a neighbour’s house or a house that you think is beautifully decorated. You don’t even have to know who it is,” Marshall said.
“The twinkle tour and (nomination) deadline is Dec. 17, and then the winners will be announced Dec. 20. The … three prizes are bought from local businesses here in town. So it’s really good feedback into the community too.”
Two of the winners are selected in conjunction with the non-profit organization Communities in Bloom while the third is decided by a vote during the tour.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing them on Dec. 17 and seeing lots of great houses decorated downtown,” Marshall said.
“Something cheerful for the whole community because we could all use some extra cheer for the second pandemic Christmas.”
Melfort is approximately 160 km northeast of Saskatoon.