Christmas decor up in McKinleyville neighborhood on Nov. 28 | Photo by Becca Laurenson

McKinleyville launches the first Christmas lighting contest

McKinleyville plans its first Christmas lights, house decorations and door decorating contest.
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McKinleyville plans its first Christmas lights, house decorations and door decorating contest.

McKinleyville will host their first Christmas lighting contest. The contest consists of Christmas lights and Christmas decorations on McKinleyville houses. The contestants are judged based on inflatables, Christmas lights and Christmas decorations.

The Christmas lighting contest, will have a map drawn out of all participating homes. There will be first, second and third placements with prizes. Participating in the event is free and the event itself will take place Dec. 23, 24, and 25 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Keith Ownsbey was the first to launch the idea and hopes the event can become an annual tradition. Ownsbey started a Facebook page dedicated to the idea and posted his contact information for those interested in participating and volunteering.

“I was bored,” Ownsbey said. “I decided to make a post on the local Facebook page and said ‘hey this is who I am, my family and I are lucky enough to call this community our home and I plan on decorating a lot this year and I wanted to put on a Christmas lighting decorating contest.’”

The event will be following COVID-19 protocol by looking at Christmas lights within the McKinleyville area. The event is being held over a three-day span, rather than one giant event on a single day, as another COVID-19 safety precaution.

The Christmas light contest is only happening locally in McKinleyville, but the Christmas door decorating contest is available throughout Humboldt County, so more people can participate.

“Not everybody can drop two or three grand on a bunch of stuff,” Ownsby said. “But almost everybody can decorate a door and send in a picture.”

Local community members and businesses who wished to contribute to the event offered prize money and donations.

“All the prize money coming solely from the community members, business and donations,” Ownsbey said. “That’s what we are gonna use for the awards.”

Cyndi Bainbridge, the treasurer for McKinleyville’s Lions Club, is excited about participating in the event. The Lions Club is a community and worldwide known club that partnered with Ownsbey to help out with the Christmas event.

“I talked to the Lions Club,” Bainbridge said. “The president felt it was a really good idea to get behind something like that.”

The Lions Club, by partnering, has helped with donations and credibility regarding the event. COVID-19 has taken a lot from communities this last year, Bainbridge is hopeful the outcome of this event can change that.

“The community needs this,” Bainbridge said. “It’s been a hard year, we are the type of community that likes to come together and be involved.”

Kacy Tonkin is a participants in both the Christmas lights and door decorating contest. Once she found out about the event, she messaged Ownsbey asking to participate because she enjoys the Christmas season a lot.

“I am super excited,” Tonkin said. “Personally I really enjoy driving around at Christmas time looking at lights, and I think less and less people were decorating, so this kind of gives them the incentive for people to decorate.”

Tonkin mostly decorates inside her home, she’s excited to decorate the outside and help bring cheer regardless of the contest.

“Gives people something to do,” Tonkin said. “I think that more than any monetary gain, I think just the joy or the happiness it brings people.”

The deadline to sign up for the event is Dec. 15. The deadline for door decoration contest will be Dec. 22. To participate or ask any questions, reach out to the Facebook page, 1st Annual Mckinleyville Lighting Contest.

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One Comment

  1. Fawn Pratt Fawn Pratt Friday, December 11, 2020

    Will there be a map of the homes that are participating?

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