Northern Tier communities preparing for annual holiday lighting contests

"And, we had some really, really nice trees decorated," he said. "You really have to drive around to see them."

Spiegel said he'd especially like to encourage businesses within the town to participate. In the business category, winners are also chosen on a rotating basis.

"We don't want to give it to the same businesses every year either, even though some businesses go all out," he said. "We want to encourage more businesses to participate and do more every year."

The town itself has even shown more holiday spirit in the past few years, increasing the number of decorations it installs each year on utility poles, with the assistance of New York State Electric and Gas.

"We've gotten a huge reaction from the new lights we've put up," said Spiegel. "It's something the residents enjoy and I think the more we decorate, the more enthusiasm we get from them and passers-by."

The town originally had approximately 18 pole-mounted decoration, but gradually increased that number. This year, an additional 12 units were purchased to add to the displays.

In the town of Mooers, the town's beautification committee will host its holiday lighting contest for the third year. Scarlett Sample, head of the committee, said this will be the first year the contest will attempt to examine all houses within the town.

"In the past, we've had an application process, last year we only had a few entries. This year, we thought we'd try something different and see if this works out better," Sample said.

The committee will drive throughout the town examining houses, asking those interested in being judged to have their lights on from 5 p.m. on, said Sample. There will be cash prizes for first, second and third prizes.

The village of Champlain will also be judging first, second and third place homes next week, touring the village during the daytime and nighttime, said village trustee Amy Gehrig.

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