PHOTOS: Harrison names ‘Light Up’ contest winners

The Observer got a behind-the-scenes look at the judging of the lights displays

Dean Sims’ Santa may have been afloat at the corner of Agassiz and Centennial avenues on Dec. 20 due to heavy rain, but that didn’t stop Harrison Hot Springs “Light Up” contest judges from bundling into a five-seater to select the town’s best-lit homes and businesses.

At the request of Mayor Leo Facio, Marg Doman drove north from McPherson Road with fellow judges Judy Barron taking notes in front as well as Linda Payette and Gail Thomson in back, weaving through town and stopping for a closer look when sparkling lights at dizzying heights warranted.

“Look at that,” Thomson said as they drove onto Myng Crescent.

Doman parked and walked outside, and met a homeowner who told her he uses an extension pole and broom to get Christmas lights high up on his tree.

“Oh my gosh,” Doman said. “This house I think always has a good display.”

RELATED: Harrison residents get first place for Christmas display

A home on Myng Crescent won an honourable mention in the 2019 Harrison Hot Springs “Light Up” contest for its front and back yard displays, and lofty lights. (Karissa Gall/The Observer)

Next the ladies drove to Alder Avenue, where builder Barry Dyck had constructed a shed for an abominable snowman in his front yard.

“Isn’t that cute,” Thomson said.

“That is something else,” Doman replied. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”

Marg Doman and her fellow 2019 “Light Up” contest judges said builder Barry Dyck uses a bucket lift to get the star on top of his massive Alder Avenue Christmas tree. (Karissa Gall/The Observer)

Newcomers on Schooner Place received high praise for participation, as did a giant snowman on Miami River Drive and a whimsical display on Walnut Avenue.

Then came time for a much-anticipated stop on Driftwood Avenue, where Bruce and Cindy Malfait clinched the top spot in 2018.

The Malfaits did not disappoint. Their holiday display from last year was back up in full force — hundreds of lights synced to Christmas music and a looping projection that made it look like Saint Nick was enjoying milk and cookies in the living room.

“See Santa in the window?” Doman asked.

“I love that window,” Payette replied.

“This one’s hard to beat,” Thomson said.

“The detail is just unbelievable,” Barron added. “Do we all agree he’s number one?”

“Yes,” Doman, Payette and Thomson replied in unison.

Bruce and Cindy Malfait added a gift-wrapped garage and lit-up fire truck to their Driftwood Avenue holiday display this year, helping them clinch the top “Light Up” spot for a second year in a row. (Karissa Gall/The Observer)

That left honourable mentions for the Myng Crescent and Alder Avenue homes in the residential category.

“It’s a shame it’s just an honourable mention,” Thomson said, with all ladies agreeing more categories should be added to the contest next year.

The judges also agreed that the Old Settler Pub should win the commercial category and Muddy Waters Cafe should receive an honourable mention, the same as last year.

“You can’t really knock the effort, can you?” Doman said of the relatively large pub property.

Winners will receive a $100 gift card and a plaque courtesy of Tourism Harrison, to be handed out at the next Harrison Hot Springs council meeting on Jan. 6, 2020.

The Old Settler Pub and adjoining liquor store on Cedar Avenue won the commercial category in the 2019 “Light Up” contest. (Karissa Gall/The Observer)

The contest was started in conjunction with the Lights on the Lake display, which saw Tourism Harrison put out a number of well-lit displays along the walkway around the lagoon.

The lights extended outside Tourism Harrison’s domain, to commercial buildings and private residences.

RELATED: Harrison lights up for the holidays

The Muddy Waters Cafe on Esplanade Avenue received an honourable mention in the commercial category of the 2019 “Light Up” contest. (Karissa Gall/The Observer)



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