The community is invited to take part in a newly created tradition this holiday season, as “Holiday Lights — Schuyler Style!” readies to illuminate the Watkins Glen area from Dec. 15, 2020 through Jan. 17, 2021. The event, which is sponsored by Visions Federal Credit Union, will serve as a festive and friendly contest as well as a source of holiday fun and joy. Participation is currently being encouraged among businesses, residences, farms, wineries, and organizations.
“Holiday Lights —Schuyler Style” is presented by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and Watkins Glen Promotions. From silos and barns to grape arbors and house rooftops, neighbors are invited to decorate their homes, lawns, fields, and buildings. The public will be able to view the light and holiday displays as a drive-by in vehicles or a stroll-by on foot, using a detailed map, which can be downloaded beginning the evening of Dec. 15. The map, as well as details and contest rules, will be online at ExploreWatkinsGlen.com.
More than $2,000 in cash prizes plus trophies and ribbons will be awarded to the winners, which will be announced on Jan. 22, at the levels of first, second, and third place and honorable mention. Winners will be determined by the public and a panel of judges in the categories of Best Holiday Lights Residential Display, Business Display, Organization Display (non-profit or for-profit), and Farm/Barn Display. Additional public-vote awards will be granted in the categories of Best Holiday Lights Local Vote and Best Holiday Lights Visitor Vote (determined by zip codes).
The “Holiday Lights — Schuyler Style!” event is part of the “Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions” master calendar gathered by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. The symbols depicted in the “Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions” logo may serve as inspiration as it encompasses symbols of the many cultures of our region. Participants may feature their own holiday celebrations of this time of year, such as Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, and Winter Solstice. The Chamber and Watkins Glen Promotions suggest the incorporation of natural items in displays, such as trees and grapevines — as simple and elegant displays are as welcome as grand electric-light displays.
As with all holiday events during the COVID pandemic, in-person social gatherings are not encouraged and all federal, state and local laws are adhered to with regards to lights, sounds, and zoning. Also, a top priority is safety and respect for participants, spectators, and neighboring properties.
During the 32 days of display, the lights will remain on between the hours of 5 and 11 p.m., from Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 through Jan. 17, 2021. All participant registrations must be turned in to the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce at 214 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen by 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. Registration forms are online at ExploreWatkinsGlen.com.