Christmas home, business decorating contest judging starts Dec. 14

Dick Niess
Special to the Sun Times

Enthusiasm is building among Marco Island residents as they noted early decorations already being installed. Marco Island has long been noted for the communities enthusiasm to decorate in holiday fashion. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the Christmas spirit by driving around the island to see the innovative decorations. The contest committee is comprised of Marco residents, funded and supported financially by sponsors LCEC, Centennial Bank and committee members.

Dave Rice presents 2014 first-place award to Amanda and Kevin Gladish, Kayden and Kinley as Tucker the dog looks on. Behind, committee members.

The Christmas House and Business Decorating Committee met recently for its annual committee pot luck supper, hosted by Paula and Richard Robinson. Final preparations were completed for the 19th annual Christmas House and Business Decorating Contest.

* Preliminary Judging – Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 14 & 15.

Decorated properties are to remain with lights on for both nights to ensure that the judges will view all properties.

“Judging the winner in the House and Business Decorating Contest is a difficult task, and one that the Judges take very seriously,” said Jeanne Rice, co-chairman. The magic of the nightly display of lighted properties express the festive feelings of islanders. Everyone is encouraged to join the festivities by displaying lights on their business property or home.

For the house decorating contest, the committee divides the Island into nine geographic areas with nine teams of volunteers who travel on every road for the preliminaries and selects the top candidates from 6-10:30 p.m. Annually, the judging teams change zones. Of those selected, the top 10 make it to the finals. Businesses enjoy their own contest and are judged on their exterior decorations.

*Final judging – Friday, Dec. 18, 6:30-10:30 p.m.

The final 10 homes are judged by the entire membership of the committee. The committee bus departs from the Centennial Bank at 6:30 p.m. Typically, there is a car caravan following the busy so they get to see the 10 best homes in advance. The house winner receives their awards on Dec. 18 and the business winner receives their award during business hours on Dec. 19.

Contest prizes

The night of the finals, the top 10 receive a finalist plaque presented by the judging team of that area. The winner of the house contest receives a check for $250. The house winner and the business winner receive the traditional yard sign and a winners plaque.

The addresses of the finalists and a mention of others “worth viewing” will be provided to the local media so “Christmas revelers” may drive around Marco and view the wonderful decorations throughout the season.

Judges and committee

The Committee Judges for the contest are: Co-Chairman, 2012 Citizen of the Year Dave Rice, Co-Chairperson, Jeanne Rice; Treasurer, Bob Boland, Carla and Mike Mickes; Public Relations Chairman, Dick Niess, City Councilman, Larry Sacher, Judy Sacher, Debbie and Marty Roddy, Paula Robinson, past Volunteer of the Year Recipient, Richard Robinson; Bill and Liz Doyle; City Councilman, Ken Honecker, Diane Honecker; Jerry Swiacki. Chairman of Marco Island Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Linda Turner, Director of Operations, Eagle Sanctuary; Barry and Peggy Grass; |Past President, Marco Area Board of Realtors, Bette McGilvray, Steven Josselyn and Sue and Jeff Hewson. New members added to the 2015 committee include Keith and Barbara Dameron, Sandy Dauch, Kristina Lambros and Marc Creech.

Said Rice, “The committee makeup is superb. Our long standing experienced committee members have unmatched passion to serve Marco Island. They, along with the many home and business owners that participate, are what makes the event the success that it is.”

Contest rules

Previous winners must wait five years before being eligible for winning again. Former winners display their yard signs annually and continue to decorate their homes and businesses.

More information

Contact Dave Rice by e-mail at or by cell at 239-250-2175.