Northern Tier communities preparing for annual holiday lighting contests

As the holidays are soon approaching, some Northern Tier communities are getting into the holiday spirit and encouraging others to do the same.

Holiday lighting contests are being held in the towns of Chazy and Mooers and the village of Champlain, all beginning the week of Dec. 14-20. The contests have become a tradition in the communities, encouraging residents and business owners to deck their halls.

Chazy Town Supervisor Staub C. Spiegel said the contest there has been held for approximately seven years and consists of town council members driving throughout the town looking for the best displays. The town gives out prizes for first, second and third places in the residential category; first place for businesses; and first place for best lit outdoor Christmas tree.

"Some of these people put out what almost look like little villages," said Spiegel. "It's pretty impressive how much people spend on decorations and how much time is put in."

"I can't imagine what their electric bill looks like," he added, laughing.

While the competition may sound daunting, the chances of winning are easier than some would think, said Spiegel.

"We try to rotate the winners every year, so it's not the same people all the time who win," said Spiegel. "There are some that are just unbelievable and they should probably win every year."

Participation in the contest has grown in the last few years, said Spiegel, which he attributes partly to keeping the possibility open that anyone can win. There was even more interest in the contest last year when the town included a best dressed Christmas tree category, said Spiegel. While the category judges trees throughout the town, Spiegel said it was particularly his intention to encourage those with trees along the main thoroughfares in the town such as State Routes 9 and 22.

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