The Decorating Contest preliminary judging took place beginning on Dec. 10 and 11, with follow-ups during Dec. 12 and 13. Contestants were informed to remain lit during the entire week. Zone judging teams visited each decorated private home, condo association and business within nine zones covering every street on the island. The finalists will be judged on Friday, Dec. 14, from 6:30 until 10:30 p.m. for the overall winners.
Plaques will be presented to the 10 home contest finalists. The winner of the condo contest receives a plaque, the winner of the business contest receives a plaque and a yard sign for display and the house decorating winner receives a championship plaque, yard sign and a $250 check.
The contest, chaired by Dave Rice since 1997, has been a tremendous success. Every year more and more of Marco Island's residents and business owners get involved in contributing to the holiday spirit and the committees theme "Light Up Marco."
The traditional car caravan, following the trolley to see the top 10 first hand is fun for all. The trolley leaves Centennial Bank, 615 East Elkcam Circle at 6:30 p.m., Dec. 14. A list of "worth seeing" properties are listed for those who wish to view additional Christmas décor.
The rules state that winners cannot repeat as winners for 5 years to ensure the opportunity for others to be successful and only decorations that can be viewed from outside the properties are judged. Many prior winners still decorate and set very high standards for everyone. Addresses of the top contestants are provided to the media and to the Chamber of Commerce. Visiting the properties is great entertainment during the holiday season.
n Top 10 eligible home finalists: 1717 Winterberry, 1369 Collier Blvd., 91 Bermuda, 1232 Fruitland, 1208 Fruitland, 151 Channel, 1805 Dogwood, 1482 Leland, 85 Delbrook, 1591 Galleon
n Definitely worth seeing (previous winners but not eligible per 5 year rule): 975 Leo Court, 584 Barfield, 160 Bermuda.
nOther homes worth seeing: 275 Shadowridge, 1306 6th Ave., 1321 6th Ave., 780 Copeland, 513 Nassau.
nTop condominiums and businesses: Cafe de Marco – 244 Palm St., Nacho Mamas – Mission Plaza, 599 So. Collier Blvd., Madeira Condo Complex – S.Collier Blvd., Marriott Hotel – So. Collier Blvd.
nBusiness past winners worth seeing: Sanitasole – 218 South Barfield, Arturo's Restaurant – 844 Bald Eagle Drive.
The 2012 judging team chairpersons include:Judy and Larry Sacher, Nancy and Joe Carrington, Debbie and Marty Roddy, Liz and Bill Doyle, Diane and Ken Honecker, Linda Turner and Jerry Swiacki, Bette McGilvray and Steve Josselyn, Carla and Mike Mickes, Sue and Jeff Hewson and Bob Boland.
This year's winners will beannounced Saturday, Dec. 15.