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Sunday, December 16, 2018  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A contest to light up the night: Holiday lighting raising funds in Liberty Lake

UPDATED: Fri., Nov. 30, 2018, 11:12 a.m.

People driving through Liberty Lake might notice more homes decorated for the holidays and might also notice that some of those houses are, shall we say, a little over the top.

The Friends of Pavillion Park organization is putting on a “Light Up Liberty Lake” holiday lighting competition this year as a fundraiser, and there are several categories to compete in – including the Clark Griswold category. It’s named after the bumbling dad in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” who goes a little too all-in on decorating and requires “excessive use of outdoor lighting and decorations.”

The other categories are the Mayor’s pick, Norman Rockwell, creative inflatables and “The Reason for the Season,” which has a religious theme. The inflatable category requires eight or more inflatables in the yard, so don’t hold back. The Norman Rockwell category is for old-fashioned, traditional displays.

There’s also a general participation category for those who don’t want to go for a particular theme. “There won’t be voting on that one,” said board secretary Laura Frank. “We’ll select a winner at random.”

The Friends of Pavillion Park is doing the contest instead of a holiday ball to raise money for summer programs in the park, including the Fourth of July concert and fireworks. The group also puts on movies in the park, Shakespeare performances and an annual Spokane Symphony concert.

“We were really just looking for new ways to fund-raise while engaging the community,” said Frank. “The funds will support and grow our summer festival.”

Attendance at the annual holiday ball has been declining in recent years. “Some of the feedback was that it was cost-prohibitive,” she said.

This year someone suggested doing a lighting contest instead of the fancy ball. “We’re trying to run with it,” Frank said.

People interested in participating in the contest can go to www.pavillionpark.org to register their home. People are allowed to enter more than one category at once, Frank said. “Yeah, have at it,” she said. “Feel free to register to multiple categories.”

The cost is $25, and people have until Dec. 6 to sign up. Each participant will be asked to put a sign in their yard so people can find them. Judging will take place from Dec. 8 to 16.

Prizes will be awarded in each category. Each prize package is valued at around $200 and options include gift cards, a night out at the Spokane Symphony and kitchen items.

People have already been signing up, Frank said. “There’s definitely a lot of interest,” she said. “It seems to be really engaging the community. It’s our first year, so our main goal is just participation.”

Organizers will evaluate the contest after it’s over to see whether there was enough interest to do it again next year. “It’ll be based on the feedback from the community,” she said.

Once judging begins people will be able to visit the group’s website and find maps of the participating homes so they can go on a tour.

Frank said she remembers touring holiday light displays when she was a child and hopes to attract people to Liberty Lake for the same thing. “We hope that this becomes a holiday tradition,” she said. “I hope it plants roots and grows.”


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