by Ashley Bouwense
The Kiwanis Club of Randolph illuminated the holiday spirit with their first-annual Holiday Home Decorating Contest this December.
Randolph Township Parks and Recreation partnered with the Kiwanis Club to sponsor the contest.
Randolph residents could enter the competition online to compete. Homes were judged on originality, theme, creativity and overall presentation. The winners of the contest were given a cash prize to donate to a 501c3 youth charity of their choice.
It was a hard decision to make, but judges were able to choose three winners from the 17 entries. The overall winner-Best and the Brightest- was the DaSilva family at 6 Viking Ct. They were awarded $300. Best Classic Presentation went to the Calantone Family at 3 Fawn Hill Ct.; and the Most Charming Presentation went to the Pallis Family at 3 Bedminster Rd. Both received $200.
Alison Kentof and Jennifer Hodge, the youngest members of the Kiwanis Club, came up with the idea for the Holiday Home Decorating Contest two weeks before Thanksgiving.
“We were short on time, but we hit the ground running,” Bonnie Hodge, treasurer of Kiwanis Club of Randolph, said.
Hodge researched to see how other towns conducted their light contests, and she noticed that none of them used the proceeds for charity.
“Kiwanis’s goal is to give back and support our youth,” Hodge explained. “We decided that the winners of the contest would be able to use the proceeds to donate to a 501c3 youth charity of their choice.”
Russ Newman, director of Randolph Townships Parks and Recreation, agreed to partner with the Kiwanis Club to get the word out to the public. Flyers were made, the contest details were posted to the website and the Kiwanis team waited eagerly for entries.
“For such short notice and for being the contest’s first year, we hoped for 10 entries,” said Hodge. “We were elated when we counted a total of 17.”
Hodge and the rest of the Kiwanis team were pleased at how smoothly the contest proceedings went. There were six judges who drove around Randolph the evening of Dec. 19 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.. The judges viewed the houses from the street, made notes on their score cards, and took photos of the displays for social media postings and local news outlets. They deliberated and announced the winners of each category that evening.
Next year, the Kiwanis Club hopes to invite the main winner of the contest to help judge the houses. The group also hopes to double the entries by allowing residents to register in October.
Many Randolph residents told Hodge that they noticed more houses in the town decorated this year than they had seen in previous Christmas seasons. They were happy for the extra illumination.
“People want to have a sense of spirit and holiday cheer,” Hodge commented. “The contest made the community come together to enjoy the season.”
Hodge wants the Randolph community to know that the Kiwanis Club is always looking for new members and ideas, as the group plays an integral role in bringing the community together.
To see photos of all the winning homes, visit the Kiwanis Club of Randolph on Facebook. To learn more about the organization, visit www.randolphkiwanis.org.