ELIDA — The Laurel Oaks Neighborhood was lit up like a Christmas Vacation movie set, Saturday for the first-ever Christmas Light Extravaganza.
Clark Griswold himself would have been impressed by the extravagance shown by the neighborhood.
“We wanted to do something in the neighborhood to spread some cheer and just get some involvement and energy going,” said Heather Guth, president of the Laurel Oaks Neighborhood Association. “It’s Christmas-time, it’s COVID, things have been down for people, so the lights are up to brighten and cheer people up.”
A total of 54 homes signed up to be part of the contest. It cost each homeowner a $5 entry fee with proceeds going to help maintain the Laurel Oaks Neighborhood Park.
“I’m very pleased with the turnout. With a first-year thing you never know how it’s going to be especially this year, you just kind of you never know how things are going to work out. So 54 people participating and many others having their houses lit up this year is we feel it’s pretty amazing,” Guth said.
The actual idea for the contest came from Aaron Cunningham with CCR Realtors,who also sponsored the gift cards for the winners.
“It’s been a crazy year with COVID and everything and I thought a Christmas-like competition would be good to get people out of their house and cruise around,” said Cunningham. “I remember doing it as a kid and Christmas lights always give people that special feeling. It just brings back a lot of memories for people and I figured hey, let’s do a Christmas light competition.”
The judges are looking for three different things when looking at a display — creativity, placement of decorations and just overall presentation.
“We’re looking for something classic,” said judge Dawn Swihart. “We’re looking for something over the top. My husband and I are looking for people who consistently decorate really well. So we’re going to take that into consideration too. Even though we’re looking for those three categories, we’re maybe all looking for something a little bit different, too.”
The winners will receive gift cards from Meijer. First place gets $200, second place $100 and third place $50.
There’s also a Viewer’s Choice award that is selected by people viewing the displays. That homeowner will receive a gift basket.
The winners will be announced at 3 p.m. Sunday on the Laurel Oaks Facebook page.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.