Residents were all smiles on Monday as winners of the Kinsmen second annual Light Up St. Albert Festive Lights Competition were announced.
Lindsey and LeeAnne Gullett of 29 Naples Way were awarded first place for the Most Festive Home, while Daryle and Jodi Demery received second place at 7 Patterson Cres.
Elliot Place took home first place for Most Festive Street — worth a $1,500 donation to a charity of their choice — while Noble Park (North Ridge) nabbed second place — worth $1,000 for their chosen charity.
The prize for Most Festive Home is $750 for first place and $500 for second place. In this category, the winnings are split 50/50 between the homeowner and charity of choice.
For Lindsey Gullett who lives at 29 Naples Way, the detailed work is all about building spirit.
“To be honest, it's exciting to win. It sounds cheesy and cliché, but it’s not so much about winning, but about the positive feedback from neighbours or people who drive by and text us. It’s great to create positivity and if we can help a charity, that’s even better,” said Gullett, adding the family will be donating to Kid Sport Alberta, St. Albert.
The Gullett family's home showcases up to 3,000 computer-controlled pixels dancing to music. Every front-facing window is framed with LED lights, a wreath is hung on the house, and the yard is decorated as "North Ridge Pole."
Daryle Demery, who came in second at 7 Patterson Cres., also has a non-traditional approach to lighting his house.
“We used to have one string of lights. Then one year I went shopping for lights and they were 70-per-cent off and I bought some. The next day they were 90-per-cent off and I bought some more. Gradually it evolved into different equipment,” said Demery.
His display uses RGB lights that produce millions of colour combinations in different shades, set in a matrix that can display videos. Sixteen songs play in a loop and the display is controlled by four computers.
The Demerys have always been big supporters of the Stollery Children’s Hospital. But this year, their charity of choice may be the St. Albert Food Bank. It’s still under discussion.
Last year Elliot Place took second place in the inaugural Light Up St. Albert Festive Lights Competition. This year the street won first place.
“People on the block have ramped up their game,” said spokesperson Jackie Selles. “People have added new and different things. One man on the street told me he moved here just to be part of it. His place is Elf themed. All his symbols are of the movie Elf.”
One family features magical archways. Another stands out with Disney characters. Selles's family showcases the Christian aspect with a creche of baby Jesus and lights on the roof.
“Everybody does what is important to them. But this year, everybody went all out. They did an awesome job. They were putting in stuff in October to avoid the cold,” she said, adding the cul-de-sac has been doing this project for well over a decade.
As in past years, families at Elliot Place have used the decorations to encourage donations to St. Albert Food Bank. This year, it continues to be their charity.
Second-place winner Noble Park (North Ridge) is a walkway reflecting lighted backyards and decorated city-planted trees in the park. This year families pooled resources to purchase a wooden cut-out of the Grinch and add extra lights.
“Personally, I think this is a nice opportunity to highlight a charity as well as a service organization like the Kinsmen. The fact that neighbours stepped out to decorate brought us closer together. It’s a big win for us all,” said spokesperson Lisa Holmes.
SAIF is Noble Park’s chosen charity.
Martin Frigo, Kinsmen spokesperson, said they are happy to see that homes were entered from across the city, with "a wider spread of neighbourhoods than last year."