Business and residential lighting contest for the holidays

SUN Columnist

Freestanding, storefront, eclectic, classic or themed — the resurrected lighting contest has a category for you, whether you are a business owner or resident.

Many people decorate their residence or business, so why not do it this year and enter our contest to win a cash prize worth $250, $125 or $75? The prize money might help pay the electric bill.

This year, there will be two divisions: Business and Residential. Both categories will be voted on by local and visitor judges and the winners will be announced at the second annual Reservoir Hill tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 21.

Here is how you get your home or business into the town’s lighting contest. The Business Lighting Contest is open to any business with storefront or property. The subcategories are Small Business (fewer than five employees), Midsize Business (five-24 employees) and Large Business (more than 25 employees). Participating businesses are encouraged to decorate by Nov. 29 so our Thanksgiving holiday visitors can enjoy the work. The Thanksgiving weekend is typically a busy one and we might entice some people to return for the Christmas holiday. We need to know by Nov. 22 if you would like to be entered in the contest so you can be listed on the lighting map. Your name and location will be given to the judges, with your lighting effort judged the week of Dec. 16.

For the Residential Lighting Contest residents don’t have to decorate right away, but to be entered into the contest you must let us know by Dec. 7. The lights will be judged the week of Dec. 16,along with the businesses.

There will be three residential categories: the “Martha Stewart Christmas” for the best coordinated lighting display; the “Griswold Christmas” for the most lights; and the “Best Themed Display” for those who like to have a religious, whimsical or holiday-themed display. Nomination forms will be available online at the town’s website,, or you can obtain a form at the Chamber.

There will be a $250 first-place prize in the Business and Residential divisions. Second place wins $125; third place, $75.

There is an additional bonus in the Business Lighting division There will be a “People’s Choice” award. People’s Choice forms will be available in the special Holiday Palooza insert scheduled to be in The SUN on Dec. 5. Vote for your favorite business and turn your ballots in at the Chamber or Visitor Center by Dec. 27.

We want our visitors to vote and get into the spirit, so we will wait to announce the winners and engage the largest number of visitors when they are here the week of Christmas. The winners will be announced in The SUN in the Jan. 2 issue. People’s Choice forms will also be available online at the town’s website,, the Chamber’s website,, at the Visitor Center and at lodging facilities throughout the county. While no additional cash prizes will be awarded, the businesses selected will get bragging rights and photos of their business to use in the future.

This is another opportunity to really liven up the holiday spirit here in Pagosa. Read on about some more holiday plans.

Holiday Palooza

“Palooza” — a big bash or event.

This is what is being planned during the month of December. Beginning with the Parade of Stores the weekend of Dec. 5-7, there will be a month’s worth of activities for you to enjoy.

Obtain The SUN insert in the Dec. 5 paper and find out what is happening throughout the month. There will be a calendar of events, a description of the events, promotional highlights, a map of the businesses and residential lighting locations, and a business lighting contest voting form. There will also be a coloring contest form for the children.

This insert is a must for the holidays. It will be helpful as we plan parties and gatherings around all the activities going on in Pagosa. Inserts will be available after Dec. 5 at the Visitor Center, at lodging facilities and at other key locations to let visitors know what is happening and where to go to enjoy the lights. This insert will include theatrical and musical performances, community events, children’s events, shopping events and much more.

This is a first attempt to market all the festivities that are going on in Pagosa and we hope our residents and visitors will enjoy this publication.

Russ Hill Bazaar

Another holiday task is to order your holiday wreath or centerpiece from the busy bee volunteers at the Community United Methodist Church and the annual Russ Hill Bazaar. The bazaar will open on Wednesday, Nov. 20. It will be closed the Thanksgiving holiday, Nov. 28-29. You can order your greenery until Friday, Dec. 6, and the bazaar will close on Dec. 12. There will be a limited number of wreaths made this year (600) so early ordering is encouraged. There is also a 10-wreath limit per order, unless previously arranged. These beautiful and fragrant arrangements make great gifts and can be shipped anywhere in the U.S. You can order your wreath online at, scan and send your order form to or turn your order form in at Community United Methodist Church. Thanks to all the dedicated and creative volunteers that make this bazaar possible and as they celebrate their 51st year of service.

Non-profit organizations

Many of our local non-profit organizations host events during the year where they serve alcoholic beverages.

On Nov. 19-20, the Town of Pagosa Springs will host a training dealing with service of alcoholic beverages. The class will review the effects of alcohol, liquor liability, sales to visibly intoxicated persons, sales to minors and acceptable forms of identification. The class on Nov. 19 will be from 2-3:30 p.m. at Town Hall and the class on Nov. 20 will be from 9-10:30 a.m. at the Ross Aragon Community Center. While RSVPs were due Nov. 12, if you are still interested in attending one of the classes, you can contact April at Town Hall at 264-4151, Ext. 237 by Nov. 15 to sign up. The training is free.

Business news

Don’t forget to register for the monthly Maximizing Your Membership class that will be conducted on Monday, Nov. 25, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. The class will be held at the Chamber conference room and a free lunch will be provided. If you are looking at your marketing efforts for 2014, this is a session you should attend to see what the Chamber can do for your business. Take some time while things are a little slow to work on planning for your business in the upcoming year and let us work with you. Contact the Chamber at 264-2360 to register for the class.

One more reminder is that this month’s SunDowner, or Business After Hours, will be held a week earlier than normal, due to the Thanksgiving holiday. The SunDowner will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at High Country Lodge. The event will be held from 5-7 p.m. and Chamber members and invited guests are welcome to attend. We look forward to another robust Business After Hours event and seeing all the improvements that Bob and France Kudelski have made at High Country Lodge.

We welcome two new businesses this month.

The first is Coyote Jane’s Trading Post, located in historic downtown Pagosa Springs, next to the Liberty Theatre. Coyote Jane’s has a selection of jewelry, beads, glass pipes, handcrafted items and pottery, just to name a few of her treasures. Zum natural soaps are also available in a variety of sizes. Stop into Coyote Jane’s during the Parade of Stores Shopping Extravaganza the first weekend in December and see what you can pick up as a gift for any occasion.

The other new business this week is Central Distributing. Central Distributing offers supplies, equipment, procedures and cleaning services to help you maintain a healthy business. They offer environmentally responsible cleaning choices and pride themselves on their service ethic. Central Distributing has been distributing products to western Colorado for more than 60 years. To find out how they can work with you and your business, give Vicki Lathrop a call at (970) 243-0024.

Our renewals this month include the UPS Store– Lobo Express, The Pagosa Springs Dining Guide, Nationwide Payment Solutions, and Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center in New Mexico.

There is a lot of planning going on to get ready for the holidays. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the Parade of Stores shopping weekend Dec. 5-7.

This story was posted on November 14, 2013.