Twinkling Christmas lights are like a month long fireworks display….with surprises around every corner.
When the plan was hatched to initiate this fun tradition, there was a whole lot of “flying by the seat of our pants” going on. At the time of inception, we (Mayor Linda P, Zoee Forehand, the kiddos and I) were literally re-stuffing flying Reindeer heinies. The goal was simple, encourage more folks in putting up Christmas lights, get people to cruise around looking and maybe just a small hope that a friendly rivalry would ignite between the north-side and south-side of town. Next mission was spreading the word about the contest, finding prizes for the winners and then awarding people who glow with Christmas Spirit. Snap, Crackle, Boom- “Light up Flagler Beach” was born!
However, it was the little details I never considered that made it awesome!
December 22nd the Mayor and I arranged for all the owners to be home so we could present them with their prizes. The first house we visited was 229 Ocean Palm Dr., the recipients of the “Ultimate Griswold” award (this comes from the famous National Lampoons Christmas Vacation– starring the infamous Chevy Chase.) The owners’ Colleen and Chris were in the yard as we pulled up and so excited to be recognized for the award. They completely deserved it as there were so many lights and inflatables illuminated they have to run them on a separate generator. “Otherwise just trying to make a cup of coffee would blow out the power to our house, laughs Colleen. And if for some reason the lights aren’t on, it’s probably because we ran out of gas.” Their spirit is contagious as some of the neighbors have really started to step up their game and as for the bah humbuggars…well, they will just have to invest in black-out curtains.
But that was just the beginning.
Our next stop was 1801 S Flagler Ave for “Best Overall.” Since the beginning of the contest and being interviewed by Palm Coast Observer, the owner Larry has seen a major increase in traffic and could be found in his yard almost every evening chatting it up with the sight seers. It was obvious from his Christmas hat, blinking light necklace and mesmerizing electronic shirt panel that he was enjoying the extra holiday spirit. He stated, “I have met so many nice people driving by, this has been so great!” It was in that moment I realized we helped bring some extra Christmas joy to his life and I can’t wait to see what it inspires him to do next year.
The following house on our list hadn’t actually been on the list till that afternoon. The secret rivalry I had been hoping for actually happened in the final hour (this is where you learn from your mistakes- there was no time limit set to voting as it was never decided what day the contest would officially end.) So as the house on the south, 2009 S. Daytona Ave. took an early lead in the “Traditional” category, 1009 N. Flagler Ave started pulling in a ton of votes as word spread about the contest. It was obvious they were both fabulously decorated and had mass approval from friends and neighbors, so we decided on the fly to award them both! This was a surprise to the north-side family and the best part is when we arrived on their doorstep, kind of like Ed McMahon from Publishers Clearing House (it really was like that) they were in the middle of bidding on more Christmas lights for next year! Can you say Awesome!!
So to wrap up the evening and the last address on our list, we circled back to 2009 S. Daytona Ave. After we knocked on the door two sweet girls answered in a kind of bewildered way. Their grandmother, close behind them revealed that they had been the driving force behind the elaborate decorations, painting the signs and naming the specific areas where the scenes had been staged. They described with bubbling enthusiasm their future decoration plans for next year, aiming to get bigger and better!
So there you have it…”Light Up Flagler Beach” a new tradition that brings smiles to people’s faces and a spotlight on their creativity. And maybe next year we will throw in a division for a favorite decorated restaurant…just throwing it out there 🙂
Thanks so much to everyone for getting involved, the Mayor for handing out the awards with me, Palm Coast Signs for donating the signs and the restaurants: High Tide @ Snack Jacks, Golden Lion and Break-Awayz for donating gift certificates.
Flagler Beach is awesome!