Marco Island decorating judging dates announced

25th Annual Christmas House Decorating Contest; 15th Annual Christmas Business Decorating Contest


Final preparations were completed by the committee at their annual Pot Luck Supper on Nov. 22 hosted by Bob Boland and Lyn Bedell. Co-chairs Jeanne and Dave Rice reviewed the details with the committee and report that “all systems are ready” for Marco Island to light up for the holidays. A great Christmas event is in store for Islanders and their guests to enjoy throughout the festive season.

In 1994, Dave Rice, then the overall Christmas Island Style chairman, started a new event on Marco Island which was a contest to honor the top Christmas decorated homes. Twenty five years, later, the event has grown to include a contest for decorated businesses and developed a committee of 32 dedicated community minded citizens to make it all happen. 

This year the preliminary judging will be done on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, December 9, 10 and 11 (from 6:30 until 10:30 p.m.)

Property and business owners are instructed to have their lights on all three nights to insure that the judges may view all properties. The final judging is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 13 (from 6:30 until 10:30 p.m.).

The committee, from left, back: Chairman Dave Rice, Marty Roddy, Bob Boland, Steve Josselyn, Ken Honecker, Debbie Roddy, Betty Newman, Russ Simmons, Bruce Robertson, Mary Vertin, Larry Sacher; second row: Bette McGilvray, Carla Mickes, Sandy Dauch, Diane Honecker, Richard Droste and Jerry Swiacki; front: Mike Mickes, Judy Sacher, Linda Turner and Lyn Bedel. Not pictured: Jacki Strategos, Kristina Lambros, Marc Creach, Dick Niess, Jeanne Rice, Barbara and Keith Dameron.

The judges’ bus leaves the parking lot of Iberia Bank at approximately 6:15 p.m. following the committee’s kickoff tailgate party that sets in motion a high energy of Christmas Spirit for the entire community.

Iberia Bank is the sponsor of the tailgate event and provides a festive array of snacks and beverages for the committee prior to the visiting the Top 10 decorated homes and selecting the 2019 winner. The committee member liaison with Iberia Bank is Keith Dameron.

The committee will travel in the extravagantly Christmas decorated bus generously donated for the evening by the Marco Island YMCA. The bus decorations are designed and installed by a sub-committee led by co- chairpersons, Mary Vertin and Bruce Robertson.

Traditionally, a car caravan follows the bus to get a first-hand view of the top 10 homes. Caravan members are encouraged to park in areas opposite Iberia Bank and join in as the bus exits the bank parking lot. Printed lists of the Top10 properties are available. 

All owners of the Top 10 homes receive a plaque and the overall winner receives the coveted yard sign, winner’s plaque and new this year, a traveling trophy to be kept for one year by the winners of the house contest and the business contest and then passed on to the next year’s winner.  

Businesses are judged on their exterior decorations and the winner receives a plaque, yard sign, and a traveling trophy for their display for one year and receive their awards on Dec.14 at a time convenient for the business owners. Goodland businesses are included in the competition. A separate team of judges view the businesses led by co-chairperson Kristina Lambros and Marc Creach. For the Business Contest, it is appreciated that businesses notify Judge Kristina Lambros at with the name of the business and address so no business is overlooked.

Previous winners display their yard sign annually and continue to decorate in the spirit of the season. Top 10 contenders and “worth seeing” addresses are supplied to the media so families may visit and enjoy the beauty and originality of the decorated homes and businesses throughout the holiday season.  Judging teams evaluate every home on every street on Marco. Winners are not eligible to win again for a five year period.

The committee judges for the contest are: Co-chairman, Dave and Jeanne Rice, Bob Boland and Lyn Bedell, Carla and Mike Mickes, Dick Niess, Larry and Judy Sacher, Debbie and Marty Roddy,  Liz and Bill Doyle, Ken and Diane Honecker, Jerry Swiacki and Linda Turner,  Bette McGilvray, Steven Josselyn, Keith and Barbara Dameron, Sandy Dauch, Kristina Lambros, Marc Creach, Jacki Strategos,  Richard Droste, Bruce Robertson, Mary Vertin, and Bette Newman and Russ Simmons. Stated Rice, “The committee makeup is superb.  Most are long standing experienced committee members with unmatched passion to serve Marco Island.  They, along with the many home and business owners that participate, are what make the event the success that it is.” 

Rice may be contacted by e-mail at or by cellular at 239-250-2175.