By Pam Dudding Contributing writer
Whether you are a kid or an adult, Christmas lights bring a warm smile to all as they drive by, admiring the different decorations families spend so much time putting up.
The First Annual Light Up Craig Christmas Decorating Contest, presented by the Craig County Rescue Squad, brought out the best of lights in town.
Many blow-ups, thousands of various light displays, twinkling stars, creative scenes and other décor garnished many lawns.
Even with the limited guidelines that were set for the contest, many entered, and said they had a blast, regardless of whether they won or not.
“We are doing this as a fundraiser for the Rescue Squad,” Trace Bellassai said.
There were two contests. One was to be decided by the judges for a first, second and third place winner and the other was to be judged by the community via Facebook votes.
The judges all went around together in the Rescue Squad response vehicle to look at the 15 competing homes and each of them scored individually.
Though the judges agreed that the decorating was exceptional, it was Darrell Frango who earned first-place honors. Rose Looney and Rose Welch placed second and third, respectively. All were homes that everyone should drive by and see.
There was also a “Community Favorite,” which as sponsored by IGA Express Exxon, in which local residents were encouraged to vote online. Frango also won this award too.
“Over 200 community members voted,” Bellassai said. “We were really happy to see a lot of community involvement!”
“When Robert called me about winning, I kept thinking who in the world is this and then he told me I got first place,” Frango said before adding, “Bellassai and Robert (Wrzosek) came down here and gave me a $100 IGA Express gas card and $175 in entry winning. That was really nice.”
Frango didn’t stop there. He then said to them, “Y’all ain’t seen nothing yet,” as he escorted them throughout his home where every room, nick and cranny was decorated.
“I was surprised that I won,” he said. “Even my daughter in Arizona saw it on Facebook and called me.”
Half of the proceeds from the entry fees went to the winner and the other half was sent as a donation to the Rescue Squad.
Contestants were judged by a five-member panel of judges, on a scale of one to ten in three categories: Creativity (originality, unique design and creative use of lights and decorations), Arrangement (display and placement of decorations), and Overall Appearance (color coordination, balance, and overall attractiveness).
“They had a great time!” Bellassai shared. “We had a few reach out that said they didn’t know about it until we started the voting, so hopefully, we will have even more enter next year!”
The Rescue Squad is in need of many things, as the crew shared, “These funds will go into our operating budget, which is used for everything including, medical supplies, vehicle maintenance, equipment purchases and just paying the bills to make sure we stay in operation.”