City of St. Charles Holds Their Annual Christmas Lights Contest


Credit to Photo Submitted

Two workers hang lights at Provenance Soapworks during the annual holiday light awards last year. Provenance Soapworks is one of the stores on Main Street that participate in the contest. This is the fifteenth year that the light awards have been going on.

By Gracie Bowman

The City of St. Charles is holding their fifteenth Annual City Lights Contest on Dec. 6. Home and business owners can enter their decorated homes or buildings until Nov. 30 by printing and filling out a form available on the St. Charles City website. The buildings are categorized into lit and non-lit displays.

“Around the holidays, a lot of people get excited to decorate,” Chuck Lovlace, Geographical Information System Coordinator of St. Charles, said. “If you want to show off your property that you put a lot of time, money and effort into, it’s one way to get people to drive by your house.”

Provence Soap Works on Main Street has been participating in the competition for nine years. The shop does two specialty window displays and decorates the outside with fresh greenery, lights and bows. The shop hasn’t won yet, but the employees are hoping to soon.

“It’s something we all look forward to,” Provence Soap Works owner Carolyn Holden said. “We have a staff potluck party where we all help out and decorate.”

After the decorating, on Dec. 6, the Human Relations Commission and their families judge the displays of each building. The commission and their families board a bus where they visit each entry that night and use score sheets to rate the display one to 10. According to Lovlace, the bus ride can take up to three hours when there are a lot of entries. Last year, there were about 20 different entries, a lot of them being repeating competitors.

“A lot of the entries are people who enter every year,” Lovlace said. “They enjoy the competition and the rewards that come from it.”

During the last city council meeting before Christmas on Dec. 18, the council presents the award winners. There are 11 awards given out. The top 10 are each awarded and then Mayor Sally Faith picks her favorite. The winner of the mayor’s award receives an ornament made by a local artist, Serena Boschert. The winners’ addresses get put on a virtual map online, available to everyone who wants to see the decorated buildings. According to Lovlace, whether you want to compete in a friendly competition or beautify the city, entering the contest is a lot of fun.

“It makes the street look better,” Holden said. “It brings a sense of holiday spirit. It’s a team effort to make things brighter and prettier.” (Brief by Gracie Bowman)