By Sue Tiffin
From Peterson Road to Hwy 35, from Deep Bay Road to Lochlin Road, the homes of Minden were alive with bright lights, festive inflatables and even some holiday music as the Minden Hills Holiday Lights Contest celebrated 34 participants across the township.
Voting for the self-guided, drive-by light gallery took place from Dec. 5 to 13, and the winners – Robbie Stevenson and Lianna Hardy who live at 3705 Deep Bay Road – won the contest and a $150 gift certificate to a local business of their choice by two votes on Dec. 14.
“It was awesome, we went and looked at all the lights,” said the winner statement. “It was great to be part of a contest that everybody gets to see. You go around and see everybody’s hard work and it makes your day a little happier.”
Stevenson and Hardy said they decorate every year, but “went a bit further this year, went out to get a few more lights and put a string of lights above the driveway.”
The runner-up, 165 Bobcaygeon Road, has been decorated by Scott and Carolyn Martin for four years now, with the homeowners suggesting those who like their display donate to the food bank. The second runner-up was 33 Invergordon Avenue, the home of the Minden Minions, decorated by Clark Chamberlin.
“We’re all spending a bit more time at home this year and the Holiday Lights Trail was a way to kickstart the holidays and spread home cheer from home,” said Shannon Quigley, curatorial programming assistant at the Minden Hills Cultural Centre, through which the contest was organized. “It turned into a great way to celebrate Minden’s community spirit at a time when getting together is difficult.”
Quigley said having the submissions and photos come in by e-mail felt like opening an advent calendar.
“It was wonderful to have so many submissions from across the township of Minden Hills,” she said. “From Lutterworth to Little Boshkung Lake, there are submissions from all over. I think this helped make it feel like a real community event – hopefully, no matter where you are in the township, there’s a house on the trail that you recognize.”
She said the contest seemed to have sparked people’s imaginations and generated conversation, with many of the participants hearing about the event from a friend or neighbour.
“I think people signed up as a way to have some fun and take part in a community event that allowed them to connect with their friends and neighbours from a safe distance,” said Quigley. “Some people said they took part to offset some of the negative things that have happened this year, others just love decorating. A lot of people said they were happy to see the Trail being organized because so many other things were cancelled.”
After driving throughout the township, taking in the lights of each participant listed on the Trail Map published online, those who took in the tour were asked to vote for one winner, with the contest ending Dec. 13 and winner announced Dec. 14. The map will be available online until Dec. 31.
Quigley said she isn’t sure how many people have driven around to look at the lights, but the response to the online album on Facebook was bigger than expected, with thousands of views. More than 500 people voted in the contest and the landing page of the blog was viewed more than 2,500 times.
“People have already said they would take part again, and one Facebook commentator called it a new family tradition,” said Quigley.
For more information, visit http://www.mhcc.blog/lights, or the Minden Hills Cultural Centre on Facebook.