As part of an annual neighbourhood-wide Christmas decorating contest, residents of Coopers Crossing have the next 10 days to show off their Christmas lights, festive blow-up characters, and holiday displays.
The Coopers Crossing Residents' Association (CCRA) sponsors the community's annual Christmas lights competition, and this year’s judges are prepared to view every decorated house between Dec. 15 and 25.
Savannah Ethier, president of CCRA, noted Coopers Crossing residents don’t need to sign up or apply to take part in the contest. The only requirement to participate is switching on their lights in the evenings.
“We have wonderful pathways that people are walking on throughout the year including in the winter and they do get plowed by the City,” Ethier said. “It’s just a really great way to go out and see different parts of the community that you might not normally see.”
The contest has been going on since 2010, according to the CCRA website. While it’s difficult to know how many people participate each year, Ethier said hundreds of households are usually decorated and judged each holiday season.
The competition is divided into two categories – one for front-house and driveway decorations, and one for backyard and back fence displays.
“That way, people with beautiful big backyards can compete and they’re not in direct competition with the people who have big, beautifully decorated front yards and driveways,” Ethier said.
With 50 per cent of homes in Coopers Crossing backing onto a park, residents and judges can also enjoy the light displays from the community's parks and along the many kilometres of pathways.
The nice thing about strolling down Coopers Crossing’s many pathways in December is that they’re all lit up by Christmas lights, punctuated by the nearby light displays in people’s backyards, Ethier added.
Judging is based on the personal preference of each of the four judges, she said, adding the neighbourhood is split into zones to make judging more manageable.
The judging panel gets together to decide which displays were their favourites and then propose their top five houses. The CCRA then awards the top three winners in each category with various gift cards, totalling roughly $600, to local businesses like Save-On-Foods.
According to Ethier, one of last year’s winners included an over-the-top display with an inflatable Santa and lights everywhere, while another winner boasted a backyard display featuring characters from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Sesame Street.
Other years included more mellow decorations, such as a striking blue and purple lit-up backyard that caught the judging team’s eye that year.
“We’re looking for those that capture the imagination and are nice to look at when driving around the community. A lot of times it’s the ones that kids respond to,” Ethier said.
The competition is a great way to get people outside into different parts of the community, rather than the normal routes from home to work and school, Ethier added.