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Christmas Contest Lights Up Holidays
Last week judges went out to rate houses in Riverbank for the Christmas Home and Yard Decorating Contest and Mathew Lindsey’s home on Saxon Way took first place. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

In an attempt to bring some Christmas cheer to the community, the Riverbank Parks and Recreation Department created a Holiday Home and Yard Decorating Contest that had multiple entries and, ultimately, three residents on the winners list. With a light show set to the sounds of the season, First place went to Riverbank resident Mathew Lindsey on 5621 Saxon Way.

With all the cancelations of city events like the annual Cheese and Wine and the Christmas Parade, Riverbank officials thought it would stir up some friendly competition this holiday season to keep the spirt of Christmas alive.

Director of Parks and Recreation Sue Fitzpatrick shared that this is the first house decorating contest in quite some time. She said that around six or seven years ago they had a house decorating contest that had only about seven houses enter.

There were 23 houses that registered for the contest this year that was free to all residents in Riverbank. The houses were judged by seven judges that went out last on a recent evening to focus on the following categories: Visual Impact, Theme, Creativity, and Light Display. Due to COVID the judges hit the streets on their own to view the houses as everyone could not ride together for safety reasons.

“It went well,” stated Fitzpatrick. “We had more houses enter than we thought we would and did not realize how long it would take to see all of them. We planned on one evening and it was a bit long. It was hard to see some of the addresses at night. We were very happy with how many people responded and participated.”

There were houses that had lots of lights, cut outs, blow up characters, dragons, Santa in his sleigh with reindeer, stars, gingerbread, snowmen, candy canes, wreaths and so much more. There were some new and interesting Christmas décor items like Santa gnomes made out of bushes, a festive blow up cow, festive Star Wars characters, and animated windows with Santa and colorful elves that had sounds.

“There were a couple of people that we saw that had decorated and they were excited and thanked us for doing this contest,” remarked Fitzpatrick. “There were two houses that because of the rain the day before had no lights and that was unfortunate. We felt bad about that.”

With several houses decorated throughout the City of Action and so many houses registered the competition was fierce and that made it a difficult job for the judges.

For first place Lindsey received a prize of $200 cash and a yard sign with first place on it. David Viren and his family took second place at 6130 Wainwright Drive with a $100 prize and yard sign and third place went to Kyle Vaughn and his family at 2106 Cedarwood Drive with $50 cash and a yard sign.

The lights from the houses shine brightly in Riverbank and the Christmas spirit is certainly alive.

“We will do it again next year and have some ideas that we are working on that will make it fun,” noted Fitzpatrick.

At the Wainwright residence David Viren used his creative woodworking talents and made each cut out in his yard by hand, capturing second place. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS