The holiday spirit is in full swing in Harker Heights.
A crew of 11 judges made their way around the city limits Dec. 9, 10 and 11, to determine the winners for the city’s 14th Annual Heights Lights on Parade Outdoor Lighting and Decorating Contest. An additional 331 ballots were cast by online voters.
“The scores came close in many of the divisions and the judges enjoyed themselves,” said Nichole Broemer, recreation and events coordinator. “I would like to thank the entries for participating and encourage citizens to join in the contest next year.”
This year, 12 entries won prizes for their Christmas decorating skills. Broemer blamed freezing weather for the lower-than-usual participation. “The weather has been crazy since Thanksgiving and people weren’t able to get their lights up with it being so cold,” she said.
Residents were able to enter the free contest based on four divisions which were broken down into type of home and location. Awards were given for first place, second place, and People’s Choice in Division I, Division II, and Division IV. In Division III, awards were given per area.
This year’s contest had a total of 16 entries. New to the contest was the People’s Choice award. Residents visited the Parks and Recreation Department’s website for a list of the entries’ addresses and drove around to judge their favorites. Then they returned to the website to place their votes.
Joseph and Chris Dillow’s display garnered a first place and People’s Choice award in the manufactured home category. Their display is choreographed to music and has several moving parts.
“We always put the lights out for the kids every year, and if we don’t put them up by a certain time people keep asking us when they will be up,” Joseph Dillow said. “Winning is a nice recognition for our efforts. We do it for the kids because they really enjoy it.”
This year it took the Dillows three weeks and more than 30 hours to complete their masterpiece because of the chilly temperatures. First-place winners received an ornament, a gift card, Frost Fest T-shirt and a sign to place in their yards.