By Maddy Vitale
Every year Sea Isle City homeowners and businesses do their best to show the rest of South Jersey that being on a barrier island can be fun. Especially when there is a contest involved for who has the best holiday lights.
Officials said it was difficult to choose from the wide array of festive light displays throughout town for this year’s Holiday House Lighting Contest, which is sponsored by the Sea Isle Division of Recreation in cooperation with the Garden Club of Sea Isle City.
“Sea Isle City is a beautifully decorated community each Christmas – and the Holiday House Lighting Contest puts some of our town’s most well-illuminated homes in the spotlight,” said Katherine Custer, Sea Isle director of community services and public information officer.
This year, the top prize went to the Miller family’s home at 230 56th Street for their old-fashioned decorations of white lights, garland, wreaths and red bows.
The family won a $100 gift from First Bank of Sea Isle City. Prizes were also provided by Rocky & Fred’s Creative Design Florists.
Second place winners, the Ferrillis, at 344 43rd Street, won a $50 gift from First Bank of Sea Isle City.
Their winning festive décor included red, white and blue lights, reindeer and snowflakes.
The Olivieri-Donat families of 209 48th Street came in third with red, green and white house lights and an array of lit up wreaths that lined the balcony.
Custer said the holidays are a wonderful time of year for families to visit Sea Isle.
“We hope people will take full advantage and take the family for a drive to view all of the participants of the contest,” she said.
Each year, the Recreation Office receives approximately 10 to 15 entries for the contest.
Property owners can nominate their own homes for judging, but anyone who admires a nicely decorated property is always welcome to nominate that home as well, Custer explained.
Then, volunteers from the Sea Isle City Garden Club drive through town on a designated evening and judge each of the entries. This year, the judges viewed properties on Dec. 13.
The judges consider three main categories: creativity, aesthetic effect and endeavor.
Custer said, as in years prior, it is always a difficult task to choose the top three. She said that is why the city’s website displays many of the other decorated properties.
“We are very grateful to the Garden Club for helping make this competition a success each year,” Custer said. “And we are also very grateful to First Bank of Sea Isle City and Rocky & Fred’s Creative Design Florists for providing the prizes. Clearly, the House Lighting Contest is a true community effort.”