In 1997, Dave Rice, then the overall Christmas Island Style chairman, requested Lee County Electric Company to support a new event on Marco Island which was a contest to honor the top Christmas decorated homes. Since that time, LCEC has annually supported this independent program. Above, LCEC representative, Tricia Dorn is pictured presenting Rice with a check for $2,000.
Said Dorn, "It is LCEC's pleasure to continue financial support of this wonderful annual event. It embodies the true Christmas Spirit and provides an entertainment event for everyone for the entire holiday season. The 1,848 private homes and businesses that decorated in 2011 are customers of LCEC, and we feel that we are not just a sponsoring business, but a real partner in the success of the contest."
This year the Preliminary Judging will be done on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 10 and 11 from 6:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. each night. The final judging is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 14 from 6:30 p.m. until 10. The top 10 decorated homes are viewed from the Marco Island Trolley following the committees tailgate party at Centennial Bank.
The MI Trolley and Centennial Bank are long time sponsors. The overall winner of the house contest receives a cash award of $250, a yard sign plus a larger plaque. Top 10 contestants each receive a plaque.
The finals for the Business and Condo Decorating Contest is held on Dec. 13. The business winner is presented a plaque and a yard sign and the condo winner is presented a plaque. Only exterior decorations are judged for all categories.
Suggested Rice, "Since many businesses are not visible from the street, those that are visible only by pedestrian traffic are encouraged to contact me so judging can be accomplished on foot."
The Island is divided into nine areas 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.
The committee members include: Dottie Weiner, Jeanne Rice, Bob Boland, Donna and Jim Rohrbach, Debbie and Marty Roddy, Paula and Richard Robinson, Peggy and Barry Grass, Sue and Jeff Hewson, Bette McGilvray and Steve Joselyn, Judy and Larry Sacher, Dr. Jerry Swiacki, Linda Turner, Diane and Ken Honecker, Nancy and Joe Carrington, Carla and Mike Mickes, Ann and Dick Niess and Liz and Bill Doyle. Joining the Committee in the Overall Winners Selection includes Tricia Dorn of LCEC and Centennial Bank representatives.
Stated Rice, "The committee makeup is superb. Since all are long standing members, their experience and passion to serve, makes the event what it is."
Rice may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (239) 250-2175.
Should you wish to participate in the event email the group at email@example.com or call Deb Shanahan at 248-7419, Bette McGilvray at 877-6605 or Steve Stefanides at 250-8348.